Firefly Summer

Maeve Binchy, Author
Maeve Binchy, Author Delacorte Press $19.95 (601p) ISBN 978-0-440-50017-9
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Binchy's latest novel (after Light a Penny Candle ) is set in the tiny Irish backwater of Mountfern, home to a handful of families and typical of hundreds of similar hamlets in the British Isles where life is lived to the rhythm of the seasons. Mountfern is the ancestral home of Patrick O`Neill, a rough, rich American whose wealth comes from bars and restaurants, and whose dream is to build a grand hotel in Mountfern. The consequences of Patrick's arrival there early in the '60s are often hilarious: the local aristocracyespecially the widows and spinstersvies for his attentions, while the villagers are beguiled by his largesse and by thoughts of the prosperity the hotel will bring. But tragedy strikes when a bulldozer working on the hotel site crushes Kate Ryan's spine; her adaptation to life in a wheelchair is brave and touching. Kate (Binchy's most splendid character) and her husband own a pub that is bound to suffer when the hotel opens. Other charactersall memorably portrayedcome to be resentful of the ``Yank's'' money while they reveal their own cupidity. Patrick's joy at his homecoming is slowly eroded, and his teenage son Kerry breaks hearts, including his father's. Binchy's lyrical prose has a lilt and musicality that makes it a joy to read. With a strong narrative drive that never flags, the story engages all the reader's emotions. (September)
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