Light A Penny Candle

Light A Penny Candle

by Maeve Binchy


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Beloved author Maeve Binchy's first published novel, an engrossing coming of age tale about the incredible bond of friendship.

To escape the chaos of London during World War II, young Elizabeth White is sent to live a safer life in the small Irish town of Kilgarret. It is there, in the crowded, chaotic O’Connor household, that she meet Aisling—a girl who soon becomes her very best friend, sharing her pet kitten and secretly teaching her the intricacies of Catholicism.

Aisling’s boldness brings Elizabeth out of her proper shell; later, her support carries Elizabeth through the painful end of her parents’ chilly marriage. In return, Elizabeth’s friendship helps Aisling endure her own unsatisfying marriage to a raging alcoholic. Through the years, they come to believe they can overcome any conflict, conquer any hardship—as long as they have each other. Now they’re about to find out if they're right...

“A sumptuous saga.”—Harper’s

“Wonderful…a novel that could be mistaken for life.”—New York Daily News

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451222640
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/06/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 191,052
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined The Irish Times. Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982, and she went on to write more than twenty books, all of them bestsellers. Several have been adapted for film and television, most notably Circle of Friends and Tara Road, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. She was married to writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for thirty-five years. She passed away in 2012 at the age of seventy-two.


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

Customer Reviews

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Light a Penny Candle 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
NancySBrandt More than 1 year ago
This was my sister's favorite book, so I decided to re-read it since she and Ms. Binchy both died in August. I know I read it a long time ago, but I didn't remember much about it. I did enjoy the friendship and the story kept me interested and was very fast paced. A lovely story about the cards we're dealt, which are not always good ones, and the choices we make as a result of those cards. Through it all, friendship is the one thing that survived all the bumps in the road. Two girls thrown together because of a war end up closer than sisters. We should all have friends like that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just re-read this book recently, and was as enthralled with it as I was the last time I read it (and the time before that....). This is a wonderful book, showing what life used to be like. If you enjoy books about a way of life that existed before you were born, or unlike any you have ever known, you will enjoy this book. The characters are deeply developed and you grow to care so much for them and the lives that Ms. Binchy creates, it's hard not to be a little disappointed when you are finished!
Grammy31 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book of two families and the dynamics of each. I also enjoyed the continuing friendship of the two girls who were thrown together in world War ll.
SquintyDeb More than 1 year ago
This is the third Maeve Binchy book I have read and I simply love her. She has been able to capture my attention with how she humanizes the characters in her books. The friendship between Elizabeth and Aishling was endearing and relative to many women I'm sure. There's always that ONE friend that will go through life with you...both in good and bad. I have started my 4th book and plan to read all of them. Thank you Mrs. Binchy. I hope to one day go to Ireland and possibly see you at an autographing session. Best Regards, SquintyDeb
Anonymous 8 months ago
Yes, a few sad endings, but the two friends emerged triumphant.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first Maeve Binchy I ever read, and I think it was also the first one she wrote. Follows the relationship between two girls who first meet during the war when one is sent to stay at the home of the other, and their changing fortunes as the years go by. The author's later novels are more polished than this, but it's still a decent read.
kp9949 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good. I found this story of Elizabeth White to be a very intriguing one. Elizabeth is send away from war-torn London (WWII) to a safer Ireland to live with a friend of her mother's. There she meets Aisling O'Connor who becomes her lifelong friend. Once returned to London, Elizabeth must find her own way struggling with her parents' divorce and becoming the woman she wants to be; and Aisling struggles to overcome what is expected of her as a young Irish woman.
moonshineandrosefire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a child, Elizabeth White was sent from her war-torn home in England to the Irish countryside and the town of Kilgarret. There she met the charming Aisling O'Connor and Aisling's bustling and rather large family. The two girls struck up a firm and fast friendship - one which carried them each through the darkest times of their lives.Elizabeth had to deal with the breakup of her parents chilly marriage and Elizabeth was there for Aisling all through her marriage to a raging alcoholic. They always believe that they can overcome anything as long as their friendship lasts. They are about to test that theory.I really enjoyed this book and it is not only a 5 but a 5,000! I give it an A+!
maureenmkelly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Meave an Irish writer, with a compassion and insight into the Irish way of life. The prelude, leaves the reader with an inquisitive mind regarding where the story is going, as it traverses 20 years of 2 girls lives¿..It ends with the reader wanting to write or to read the sequel¿.which is left very much as a question, in the readers mind.
bibliophile26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of those books that I've had on my shelves FOREVER that I wanted to read and get rid of. Binchy is Irish and most of her books are set (at least partially) in Ireland. It is the story of two girls, Aisling and Elizabeth who meet as little girls when Elizabeth is sent from her home in England to Ireland to live with Aisling's family because of WWII. The book covers about twenty years and focuses on the two women's careers, marriages, children, etc. It has a shocking ending. Pretty good story, but way, way too long and quite a snoozer at times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the story and the characters She brings a story to life and you feel as if your in it !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I suppose I wanted all sweetness and light ... There were intense, sad times, but through it all, a strong friendship between two strong women: one English and one Irish. So friendship is possible, through all the bad times: a lesson for all times.
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This was the first book I read by this author. What a beautifully written story. I proceeded to read just about all of her others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a horribly depressing book. I felt like I needed therapy by the end. Normally I enjoy Maeve Binchy's books, but not this one. Wish I could give it no stars.
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sunshine52LM More than 1 year ago
My sister reommended this book to me. She remembers reading it in high school and really enjoyed it. How childhood friendship grows stronger through the years. I really felt connected to Aisling and elizabeth. I couldn't put it down once I started it. Maeve Binchy makes you feel like you really know the characters. I would highy recommed this book to anyone.
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