Have you ever had a friendship that was so deep and long lasting that you forgot how it began and you could see no end to it? Maeve Binchy's Light a Penny Candle leads us through just such friendship through the lives of Elizabeth and Aisling. Once again, Maeve Binchy is able to tell two stories simultaneously while crisscrossing back and forth weaving the elaborate picture of life. Elizabeth is a ten year old Londoner being sent to live with her mother's childhood friend in Kilgarret, Ireland to find shelter against the bombs of World War II. Your heart aches for the uncertainty she feels. She blames herself for her parents unhappiness and looks for ways to please them. Her father, a banker and mother a housewife, are miserable in their marriage and share a very quiet and tidy home with their only child. Aisling who is the same age as Elizabeth lives with her chaotic and loving large Irish Catholic family in a house that is crowded but obviously filled with lots of love. These two forge an unlikely friendsip that spans twenty years. As the story progresses we see the girls grow and we see their friendship change as their paths cross over again. Their friendship helps them endure their own life hardships. Maeve Binchy is able to use their story to teach us the importance of friendship and that it depends on sacrifice. Maeve Binchy's books are so satisfying and leave you wanting more. Her characters are so well defined that they connection the reader feels with them is real. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever been a friend or had one.
This is the first book that I read by Maeve Binchy (thus turning me into a devoted fan) and I consider this one of her finest works.The tale of the friendship of two girls who then become two women is inspiring and uplifting, and though the character's lives become a little complex towards the end, the story carries it all very well. The settings of England both during and after the war are well painted and realistic, and all in all the story really pulls you in and makes you care for the characters.This … more
The chaos of World War II London sends preteen Elizabeth White to the safety of Ireland and into the lives of the much larger and emotional O'Connor family. The enduring friendship she finds with her counterpart, Aisling, forms the framework of this novel, offering clear contrasts between the two families and countries. The early chapters of Binchy's 1982 debut novel are engagingly humorous, filled with solid characterizations of these two very different but compatible adolescents. The girls sustain their friendship and distinct personalities through regular letters, but unfortunately they must grow up and the novel may strain under the conventionality of the genre and some inconsistency, perhaps due to Binchy's inexperience as an author at the time she wrote the original story. Her cousin Kate Binchy reads the book well, capturing the innocence, yearning, and growth of the girls. Recommended for larger fiction collections. -Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.