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Works by
Maeve Binchy

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PO Box 6737
Dun Laoghaire, Co
Dublin, Ireland

Profile created April 18, 2007
  • Aches & Pains (1999) with Wendy Shea (Illustrator)
    What do you want when you’re miserable with aches and pains?

    Chocolates to rot your teeth?

    Grapes with dangerous pips in them?

    Expensive flowers that will need plenty of fuss and attention?

    Or would you rather laugh out loud and cheer up?

    Illustrated throughout with Wendy Shea’s hilarious drawings, Aches and Pains is 100% effective treatment for the spirit.

  • Star Sullivan (Year?)
    Molly Sullivan said that the new baby was a little star. She was no trouble at all and she was always smiling... so she became known as Star.

    Star Sullivan just wanted everyone to be happy: her father to stop
    gambling, her mother not to work so hard, her brother to stay out of trouble, her sister to stop worrying about every little thing she ate.

    Then Laddie moved in next door and everything began to change, until Star was no longer the sweet, thoughtful girl everyone loved and no one worried about...

  • My First Book  (Date?)

  • Light a Penny Candle (1983)
    Evacuated from Blitz-battered London, Elizabeth is sent to stay with the O’Connor family. At first she is overcome by the noise and confusion of Ireland, by the extravagant emotionalism of a people quick to anger and swift to forgive. But soon, through the determined friendship of ten-year-old Aisling and the love of Eileen, Elizabeth begins to enjoy life as never before. When she goes back to England after the war this family remains part of her life.

    Through twenty years of friendship Aisling O’Connor and Elizabeth White’s paths will cross and re-cross. As they face their loves, their marriages and their disappointments, they come to realise that not all problems will be solved, nor all wishes granted by lighting a penny candle.

  • Echoes (1986)
    Two very different children are growing up, shouting their hearts' desires into the echo cave, praying that their destiny will lead them far away from the town in which they live. Castlebay, in winter empty and grey with wind and sea spray, becomes all bustle and colour in the gaudy days of summer – and Tom O'Brien's shop on the edge of the cliff besieged by holidaymakers.

    One of those children with ambitions to leave Castlebay is Clare, Tom O'Brien's younger daughter. A favourite with the local schoolteacher, she wins a scholarship to University College, Dublin and seems all set for a path of academic glory. The other child dreaming of escape is David Power, the doctor's son, also bound for Dublin university, and probably a dazzling future as a specialist.

    The paths of these two characters are destined to criss-cross in a quite unforeseen way, and eventually both roads will lead back to Castlebay. The end of this long drama of ambition, betrayal and love is played out in the seaside town where it began, against a backdrop of whispered family gossip and the tangled skein of past friendships.

    Maeve Binchy brings to this story of a marriage all her warmth and power of insight, but as in Light a Penny Candle, the magic of her writing is not just in the story. It lies also in her creation of a supporting cast, from Angela O'Hara the schoolmistress whose priestly brother is not all he seems, to Gerry Doyle, Castlebay's photographer and resident Romeo. And above all it resides in her uncanny ability to recreate the echoes of childhood or the memory of being a teenager in a very particular time and place.

  • The Lilac Bus (1984)
    Every Friday night Tom Fitzgerald’s lilac-coloured minibus is a meeting place for the same cast of seven, who always use it to travel home from Dublin to spend the weekend in Rathdoon.  Disparate characters, who embark at an anonymous pick-up point, each one has an inner life unknown to his or her fellow passengers.  There’s Nancy Morris, a real ‘Miss Mouse’ who is known for her meanness; Dee Burke – engrossed in her affair with an unfaithful hospital consultant; and Kev Kennedy who is a bit of a mystery to everyone, including his own family.  Then there’s Celia Ryan. Each time she returns home to Ryan’s Bar, it is only to find her mother making a drunken exhibition of herself in front of half the local population.  And, of course, Tom Fitzgerald himself has his own reasons for returning home so regularly...

  • Firefly Summer (1988)
    Kate and John Ryan, of Ryan’s Licensed Premises have four children, of which the eldest are Michael and Dara, twelve-year-old twins. The small town in which these children are growing up is peaceful and friendly, an unchanging background for a golden childhood and adolescence, where in long hot summers Dara and Michael Ryan and their friends can fish and swim in the river that winds its slow way through the town, or picnic and play in the ivy-clad ruins of Fernscourt, the great house burned down during the Troubles.

    No one in Mountfern, except possibly the lawyer Fergus Slattery, and later Kate Ryan herself, has the slightest inkling of what it will mean for their lives when the ruins are bought by an Irish American with a dream in his heart and a great deal of money in his pocket.

  • Silver Wedding (1988)
    A unique family occasion is looming for the Doyles. Desmond and Deirdre will have been married for twenty-five years in October. Naturally there must be a celebration – but who is going to arrange it? And will the right people come? It is unthinkable not to have a party, but do Desmond and Deirdre Doyle really want one?

    These are the questions which torment the Doyles’ eldest daughter Anna, as she thinks how best to commemorate her parent’s’ Silver Wedding. No use turning for help to her attractive but utterly selfish lover, Joe. No use asking her sister Helen, living in her London convent and struggling to be a nun, or Brendan her brother, who has chosen another form of exile on a bleak farm in the West of Ireland. Anna knows that the guest list and the party will be her responsibility alone, and so she settles down to invite the people she thinks her parents would most like to see.

  • Circle of Friends (1990)
    Big, soft-featured Benny, an adored only daughter, and Eve, the little bird-like orphan brought up by the nuns, are best friends in the small Irish town of Knockglen. On their first day at University College, Dublin, an accident brings the pair together with fellow students Nan Malone and Jack Foley, and new friendships are quickly struck. But beneath their carefree student existence, trouble is brewing for the circle of friends. Benny, the good-natured clown of the group, always seems to draw the short straw in life, while Nan, selfish and very attractive, takes what she wants without expecting to pay for it. And Eve, intensely loyal to Benny, and resentful of Nan’s careless optimism, becomes obsessed with the need to avenge Benny’s disappointments.
    Movie (1995), Pat O'Connor, director  with Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver  DVD  VHS

  • The Copper Beech (1992)
    Eight children once carved their names on the trunk of the great copper beech tree which shades the schoolhouse in Shancarrig. Now those children are grown. They have different lives but it was the school that formed them and made them what they are. For each their hometown of Shancarrig holds special memories – some too private ever to be told.

    From Ryan’s Hotel to Barna Woods where the gypsies camp each year, from Nellie Dunn’s sweet shop to Father Gunn’s church, the tenor of life in this small Irish town is outwardly placid, uneventful, some – like Nessa Ryan in search of passion – would say, deadly dull. But peel away the layers and all sorts of unexpected things come to light: like Maddy Ross’s secret love, Eddie Barton’s surprising pen friendship, and what Maura Brennan discovers about the glamorous newcomers, Mike and Gloria Darcy . .

  • Ride on Rapunzel (1994)
    Fairytales for feminists

  • The Cruise (1995)

  • The Glass Lake (1995)
    To the outsider Kit McMahon, growing up in the lakeside village of Lough Glass, leads a charmed life. She is the loved daughter of Martin McMahon, the kindly local pharmacist, and Helen, his beautiful wife. She has a little brother Emmet, a best friend Clio, and a host of other friends.

    But all is not as it seems. Kit worries about her mother. Helen McMahon does not fit in with the people and the ways of Lough Glass. She wanders alone by the lake night after night – until the dark windy night when she disappears and only the lake knows the real reason.

    Even though she leaves Lough Glass, Kit is constantly drawn back to the small town on the side of the lake with all the people who live there – Sister Madeleine the hermit, who lives alone in her little cottage helping or possibly creating the problems of those who visit her; Doctor Kelly, whose sister-in-law Maura has always had hopes of the widower Martin McMahon; Philip O'Brien, the young son of the very rundown Central Hotel, who has loved Kit since childhood; Stevie Sullivan who runs the garage and rules the affections of every woman for miles around; Emmet, Kit's younger brother, who conquers his speech impediment but not all his worries. And there's the love-hate relationship with Clio Kelly who has always been jealous of Kit.

    The Glass Lake is the story of how Kit grows up in a community without the mother she has loved and so staunchly defended, determined to carry out her mother's last wishes that she should make something of her life, and take control of her own fortune. A story of how faith and courage can be rewarded.

  • Cross Lines  (1996)

  • Maeve Binchy Omnibus (1996)

  • Maeve Binchy Omnibus #2 (1996)

  • This Year It Will Be Different: And Other Stories

  • Evening Class (1997)
    The new Italian evening class at Mountainview School in Dublin is like hundreds of others starting up all over the city – but this one has its own special quality... the hopes and dreams of so many people are tied up in the twice-weekly lessons.

    They come to the evening class, but they all learn far more than they ever bargained for, and by the time they are ready to set off on the promised trip to Italy at the end of the year, everyone’s destiny has changed utterly.

  • The Storyteller (1997)
    Modern women writers

  • The Return Journey (1998)
    The Return Journey brings us sons and lovers, daughters and strangers, husbands and wives in their infinite variety – powerfully compelling stories of love, loss, revelation, and reconciliation.

    A secretary’s silent passion for her boss meets the acid test on a business trip; a man and a woman’s mutual disdain at first sight shows how deceptive appearances can be. An insecure wife clings to the illusion of order, only to discover chaos at the hands of a house sitter who opens the wrong doors and a pair of star-crossed travellers take each other’s bags, and then learn that when you unlock a stranger’s suitcase, you enter a stranger’s life...

  • Tara Road (1999) -- 1999 Oprah Book Club selection
    Ria Lynch and Marilyn Vine have never met. Their lives have almost nothing in common. Ria lives in a big ramshackle house in Tara Road, Dublin, which is filled day and night with the family and friends on whom she depends. Marilyn lives in a college town in Connecticut, New England, absorbed in her career, an independent and private woman who is very much her own person.

    Two more unlikely friends would be hard to find. Yet a chance phone call brings them together and they decide to exchange homes for the summer. Ria goes to America in the hope that the change will give her space and courage to sort out the huge crisis in her life that is threatening to destroy her. Marilyn goes to Ireland to recover in peace and quiet from the tragedy which she keeps secret from the world, little realising that Tara Road will prove to be the least quiet place on earth.

    They borrow each other's houses, and during the course of that magical summer they find themselves borrowing something of each other's lives, until a story which began with loss and suffering grows into a story of discovery, unexpected friendship and new hope. By the time Ria and Marilyn eventually meet, they find that they have altered the course of each other's lives for ever.

  • Scarlet Feather (2001)
    Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather have decided to create the best catering company in Dublin. They’ve found the perfect premises, they’ve got heaps of talent, and they even have a few contacts – but not everyone seems as please by the idea of "Scarlet Feather" as they are.

    Tom’s parents are disappointed that he has turned his back on the family building business. Cathy’s mother-in-law, Hannah, already disapproving of her son Neil’s choice of wife, thinks that Cathy should stay at home to look after her husband. Neil himself, a high-flying civil rights lawyer, becomes ever more distant, burying himself in his work. And Tom’s relationship with his beautiful, ambitious girlfriend Marcella becomes fraught as she struggles to realise her dream of becoming a model...

  • Quentins (2002)
    Every table at Quentins restaurant in Dublin has a thousand stories to tell. The staff and customers all have tales of their own and the restaurant itself has had times when it looked set for success and others when it seemed doomed to failure. Presiding over it all are Patrick and Brenda Brennan, who have made Quentins such a legend – but even their lives are not as they seem.

    Now Ella Brady wants to make a documentary about Quentins but as she uncovers more of what has gone on, she is forced to confront a devastating dilemma in her own life…

  • The Builders (2002)

  • Nights of Rain and Stars (2004)
    Four strangers, with nothing in common but a need to escape, meet in a Greek taverna high above the small village of Aghia Anna. From Ireland, America, Germany and England, they have each left their homes and their old lives, when a shocking tragedy throws them unexpectedly together.

    Fiona is a young nurse, trying to make her family understand her need to follow her own path. Thomas desperately misses his young son and fears that his ex-wife will come between them. Elsa abruptly left her career as a television presenter, but someone from her past refuses to let her go. And shy, quiet David is determined to make a stand against his overbearing father. With these four is Andreas, the taverna owner, who badly misses the son who left home nine years ago and has never returned.

    Nights of Rain and Stars is the story of one summer and four people, each with a life in turmoil. With the help of Vonnie, a middle-aged Irishwoman who lives in the village and is now a near-native, they find solutions – though not necessarily the ones they anticipated...

  • Whitethorn Woods (2007)
    Everything is changing in Rossmore. No longer a sleepy Irish town, where young people leave to travel the world; nowadays it's a prosperous place, so busy that a new bypass has been proposed.

    The people of Rossmore are divided, particularly since the road will go right through the Whitethorn Woods and the well dedicated to St Ann. It's a well thought by some to have near spiritual properties and by others dismissed as superstition. No one is more concerned than the honest and well-meaning curate Father Brian Flynn, who has no idea which faction to support. Surely Neddy O'Brien's family should take the compensation being offered for their land? But wasn't Neddy's mother given a cure at the well many years ago? And what about the childless London woman who came to the Whitethorn Woods begging the Saint for help, with the most unexpected consequences? Lifelong friends who first met on an Israeli kibbutz visit the shrine to sort out their marriages; a wealthy American seeks advice; and a murderess and her mother have both considered consulting the saint...

  • Deeply Regretted By (1979)
    Originally written for television, Deeply Regretted By is an account of a tragedy affecting a woman in London who discovers, on the death of her "husband", that their married life was a lie. The play reflects the sociopolitical realities of Irish men marrying and starting families both at home and abroad, principally after they were forced to emigrate for work. Presenting a brave and revealing account of a hidden layer of Irish society, this story first appeared as Death in Kilburn in the Irish Times, also included in this volume.

Short Stories
  • Victoria Line, Central Line (London Transports) (1993)
    Millions of people travel on London's tube every day yet we usually give our fellow passengers only a cursory glance. But each one of these nameless passengers has a story to tell...

    Originally published as two separate volumes, these collections were gathered together in one volume as Victoria Line, Central Line. In the US this was re-titled
    London Transports .

  • Dublin 4 (1981)
    A society hostess invites her husband’s mistress to dinner. A country girl savours the delights of city life. A student faces the dilemma of unmarried pregnancy. A drink-ridden photographer tries to relaunch a shattered career.

    Dublin 4 has all of Maeve Binchy’s intimate grasp of human feelings, her marvellous ear for dialogue and her subtle sense of life’s confusion. The stories bubble with fun and wit — yet sometimes leave a taste of sadness.

    In USA the stories in Dublin 4 are to be found within the edition of The Lilac Bus.

  • This Year It Will Be Different (1996)
    The stories in This Year It Will Be Different powerfully evoke many lives – step-families grappling with exes, long-married couples faced with in-law problems, a wandering husband choosing between ‘the other woman’ and his wife, a child caught in grown-up tugs-of-war – during the one holiday when feelings cannot be easily hidden.

  • The Return Journey (1998)
    The Return Journey brings us sons and lovers, daughters and strangers, husbands and wives in their infinite variety – powerfully compelling stories of love, loss, revelation, and reconciliation.

    A secretary’s silent passion for her boss meets the acid test on a business trip; a man and a woman’s mutual disdain at first sight shows how deceptive appearances can be. An insecure wife clings to the illusion of order, only to discover chaos at the hands of a house sitter who opens the wrong doors and a pair of star-crossed travellers take each other’s bags, and then learn that when you unlock a stranger’s suitcase, you enter a stranger’s life...

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