Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends

by Maeve Binchy
4.3 111


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Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

It began with Benny Hogan and Eve Malone, growing  up, inseparable, in the village of Knockglen.  Benny--the only child, yearning to break free from  her adoring parents...Eve--the orphaned offspring  of a convent handyman and a rebellious blueblood,  abandoned by her mother's wealthy family to be  raised by nuns. Eve and Benny--they knew the sins  and secrets behind every villager's lace  curtains...except their own.

It widened at Dublin,  at the university where Benny and Eve met  beautiful Nan Mahlon and Jack Foley, a doctor's handsome  son. But heartbreak and betrayal would bring the  worlds of Knockglen and Dublin into explosive  collision. Long-hidden lies would emerge to test the  meaning of love and the strength of ties held within  the fragile gold bands of a... Circle Of  Friends.

From the Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780099498599
Publisher: Random House UK
Publication date: 07/18/2006
Edition description: New
Pages: 560
Product dimensions: 5.02(w) x 7.75(h) x 1.75(d)

About the Author

Born in Dublin, Maeve Binchy is the author of five collections of short stories and twelve novels including Circle of Friends, Light a Penny Candle, Tara Road, The Copper Beech, Evening Class and The Glass Lake.


Dublin, Ireland, and London, England

Date of Birth:

May 28, 1940

Place of Birth:

Dalkey, a small village outside Dublin, Ireland


Holy Child Convent in Killiney; B.A. in history, University College, Dublin, 1960

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Circle of Friends 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 111 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this for book club. Everyone felt it was a hard book to start. She introduces a lot of characters and the book moves through them so fast you quite often don't notice she has changed characters and you are lost. Just keep reading as the book gets more interesting as you go and by the end you can't read fast enough.
sunshine52LM More than 1 year ago
I've started reading this book twice and just couldn't get into it. Well, I tried again recently and just finished. It is one of the best Maeve Binchy books I have ever read. I didn't want it to end, but I couldn't wait for the ending to see what happens. I hightly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Keeps you interested from beginning to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the writings of Maeve Binchy. This book was really good. I'm planning to order some more by her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read Circle of Friends two or three times before, and I still come back to it every couple of years. It's one of my favorite books. It's too bad Maeve Binchy is no longer with us. I think she was one of all-time great writers of our times.
jzreader More than 1 year ago
enjoy this author very much and this book lived up to my expectations
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of her best! Benny and Eve are characters that you care about and you feel they arre your friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book once a year
Guest More than 1 year ago
The movie was good, but the book is great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had always been a huge fan of the movie adaptation of this novel, but had never read the book. One day, I just saw it at the bookstore and picked it up. It was ten times better than the movie(starring Chris ODonnell and Minnie Driver). I could really identify with Benny. This book is a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿ve heard a saying that goes ¿The people, who were there for you at the beginning, are the one¿s who will be there for you at the end.¿ Meaning that the people who were you¿re friends to begin with will always be with you that is, if they are your true friends. If you have ever read A Circle of Friends, by Maeve Binchy then you¿ll know that the saying goes right along with it. Benny Hogan, a girl of a warm, wealthy family, and Eve Malone, an orphan girl who¿s brought up by the nuns, and who has a very difficult personality at times, begin their friendship when they¿re merely ten years old. It tells about their adventures, the tough times they go through, and yet they are always there to help and support each other, being best friends every step of the way. I really loved this book, and I highly recommend it. It was real easy to get into and even though it looks difficult to read due to the fact that it has 596 pages, once you really get into it you¿ll cruise right along never wanting to put the book down. There¿s really great characterization, and imagery in this book. ¿Some of them were half afraid of Eve.¿(Pg. 5).Which is a really good example of characterization because it shows a bit of Eve¿s behavior. Binchy describes things in such great detail that you¿re able to picture things so clearly you could draw a perfect picture. ¿Patsy spoke absently as she greased the trays for the queen cakes with a scrap of butter paper¿ (Pg. 1). The first many chapters are just about Eve and Benny and how they¿re growing up, but while away at college they meet a lot of other companions who end up sharing their bond and they all become friends, yet some of them aren¿t who you think they are. What I like most about this novel is that there are many unexpected twits and turns. You¿ll be reading and all of a sudden you have to re-read it because it¿s so unpredictable that you have trouble believing what you just read is true. It makes the book exciting; if there were no surprises then the book would probably be very boring, and tough to get through. One example for instance is there is a character that is portrayed ¿perfectly¿, she is described as beautiful, brilliant, warm, welcoming, nice, and caring, yet there is a point in the book where that all turns around and you would have never thought that she¿d be the one to pull off what it is that she had done. I would say that there¿s only one semi- negative aspect of this book. There are times that the author is a little too descriptive when describing the townspeople. The townspeople aren¿t really all that important and at times it got a little confusing. Also when the author describes the town, it can get a little perplexing. Other than that though the book was fantastic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not get enough of Circle of Friends. I started this book looking at the number of pages and thinking how long it would take to finish, but by the end I didn't want it to. I wish that there was a sequel so that I can find out what happens. Great Book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!! I have not felt this way about a book in a really long time. I loved the characters and Maeve Binchy's writing style. I could not put it down. If you love stories about friendship this book is for you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book back in the early nineties, just before the movie came out. I adored this book. From page one I was hooked and fell in love with Benny. To this day I tell people to read this book, forget the movie. I'm dying to read it again and recapture the magic I felt while reading it, but I lent it to someone and never got it back. I have to buy a new one. READ THIS WONDERFUL BOOK. You'll never regret it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Over the past few years I have been extremely lazy, and haven't been reading unless it was required, and not even then sometimes. As a New Year's resolution I've decided to begin reading again and this was my first to pick up. It was absolutely fabulous! I LOVE this book. A definite page turner that keeps coming with the surprises. I finished this over three days, including staying up well into the night on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The text is easy to read and the context is very interesting. Loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed how the author wrote about the surroundings so clearly that you could easily imagine the towns or homes in your mind as you read the book.

Eve and Benny, unlikely childhood friends - at first they were shy and hesitant about being near each other, then found out that even though their backgrounds & outlooks on life were different, they really weren't all that different in some aspects. The author had you smiling as these two bonded and grew into young women together, then the realization that they had to go on somewhat separate paths in life and that meant a new circle of friends they would meet and interact with. Thus weakening and yet in subtle areas strengthening their freindships as they branched out and matured as young adults.

How many of us could relate to Benny's not wanting to say something that may upset a loved one - her blinking back tears as she looked at the outfit she had received for her birthday while hearing her parents happily talk about it? Wondering if she would ever be loved for who she was inside while daily hearing references to her looks? Although she acted on the outside that the comments didn't bother her about where she grew up or her weight, the author wrote this character's unsaid words beautifully! How many of us could relate to hoping a guy noticed us and having to keep our faces 'straight' while other girls whispered and commented that they hoped one of them would be the one on his arm? Her kicking herself in the butt for not spending more time with her father - and for seeing him only as a father and not a person who she could've related to on other levels?

Eve was a complex character and her complexities at times beautifully handled. I enjoyed her relationship with Sister Francis and later with Kit ... but running away at one time in the book from her situation? This didn't seem to fully match up to the Eve we watched grow from a young child on the prior pages. When Eve gets to realize a dream of hers - to go to college, we just saw her in the setting but no further depth given to her until she accurately guesses Nan's plotting.

Nan was a character you would like to hate but yet at the same time couldn't bring yourself to do so. Her background had you torn on how to react to this woman who had a knack with words to wrap people around her little finger and do her bidding. Only her words fail her when her background is what holds her back from realizing her TRUE dream or goal.

Jack seemed more of a catalyst as far as his role in the story. The other characters seemed to have more depth than he did - yet you soon realized that for all the glory, back patting, good looks he inherited he was known for, inside he didn't feel that confident about himself and was at times a scared little boy at how he tried to wiggle his way out of making decisions (i.e. instead of asking a girl to be his date, he asked the circle of friends to go 'dutch' and take turns dancing).

I just wished the author added one more chapter or at least 2 pages to the ending to have you appreciate the group of personalities she introduced you to. I recommend this book but not for a quick read, you will appreciate it more if you take your time turning to pages to savor some of the characters' evolving or their unmasking.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
0ne of my favorite books-a stoty of
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story struggled bit keeping interested but finishef it nice stoory really
vanlyle More than 1 year ago
This book is about growing up and the transition from high school age to college age.  Some characters  were familiar types to me,  others were not.  Some characters were likable and others just embarrassing.  This made it hard to read in the beginning, but as other reviewers have said, the book gets much better halfway through or so.  The ending felt right.  It is worth reading, but a somewhat difficult trip.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Babette-dYveine More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are beautifuly drawn and the plot keeps your attention throughout.  I found it difficult to put the book down, and, in a way, I was sorry when it ended.  I've read several of Ms. Binchy's books, and enjoyed this the most.
wordstoliveby More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down! I loved this book, it had great characters, great humor and a great plot. The movie isn't bad either, but the book is definitely better. Do yourself a favor, read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U dont ned a name