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Cover image for Firefly summer
Firefly summer

Publication Information:
Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, 1989, ©1988.
Physical Description:
983 (large print) ; 24 cm.
Geographic Term:



Call Number

On Order



It was a summer of warmth.... Kate Ryan and her husband, John, have a rollicking pub in the Irish village of Mountfern... lovely twelve-year-old twins... and such wonderful dreams.... It was a summer of innocence... but all that is about to change this fateful summer of 1962 when American millionaire Patrick O'Neill comes to town with his irresistible charm and a pocketful of money... when love and hate vie for a town's quiet heart and old traditions begin to crumble away.... It was a summer of love that would never come again.... A time that has been captured forever in Maeve Binchy's compelling family drama... a novel you will never forget.

Author Notes

Maeve Binchy was born in Dublin, Ireland on May 28, 1940. She received a B.A. from University College in Dublin in 1960. After teaching at a school for girls, she became a journalist, columnist and editor at the Irish Times. By 1979, she was writing plays, a successful television script, and several short story collections.

Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982. During her lifetime, she wrote more than 20 books including Silver Wedding, Scarlet Feather, Heart and Soul, Minding Frankie, and A Week in Winter. The Lilac Bus and Echoes were made into TV movies, while Circle of Friends, Tara Road and How About You were made into feature films. Her title Chestnut Street is a New York Times Best Seller. She died after a brief illness on July 30, 2012 at the age of 72.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Review

Binchy knows Ireland, as she proved in Light a Penny Candle and Echoes; and once again, it's the full understanding love of the Irish that lights up her third novel, about the village of Montfern in the early 60's--a book that rolls out of its covers like clotted cream, richly but slowly, with Binchy taking her own sweet time to create a huge cast of characters. At the top of the list are Kate and John Ryan, Montfern pub-keepers, with a boisterous family of four, including the twins, Dara and Michael, little Declan, and the miscreant Eddie, collared for defacing a poster of Doris Day at the local cinema. Then there's the lawyer Slattery, single at 27 and silently carrying a torch for Kate; the sage postmistress, Mrs. Whelan, who knows all and says nothing; the canon's drunkard housekeeper, and the town whore. Into this small, humming world comes Patrick O'Neill, a rich Irish-American restauranteur with notions of reclaiming his heritage by rebuilding Ferncourt, the village great house, burned during the Troubles. His plans to turn Ferncourt into a fancy hotel threaten to put the Ryans out of business, and Worse--for Kate succumbs to a construction-site accident that paralyzes her. Still, O'Neill manages to seduce other villagers; likewise, his son and daughter seduce the local kids, with Dara falling in love with the mean-spirited Kerry, and Michael with darling Grace. Alas, O'Neill's efforts prove ill-fated, when fire strikes Ferncourt on its opening day. Except for the explosive finale, this is just too leisurely plotted to enthrall, though it should charm the many Binchy fans--provided they have lots of time on their hands. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

When American Patrick O'Neill buys the ruined old house called Fernscourt, the life of almost everyone in the little Irish town of Mountfern is changed. In particular, the Ryans, who own one of the village pubs, will be affected when O'Neill completes his plans to turn Fernscourt into a hotel. But more than the Ryans' livelihood is at stake. Kate Ryan is crippled in an accident at the Fernscourt construction site, while Ryan twins Dara and Michael develop relationships with O'Neill's children, Kerry and Grace. In a very leisurely manner, the novel traces the lives of the Ryans and other villagers during a four-year period, from the time O'Neill buys the old house until the tragic climax of his dream. The careful examination of life and culture in a small Irish town during the 1960s will appeal to many readers. MEQ.

Library Journal Review

When American millionaire Patrick O'Neill returns to his ancestral home in Ireland, his intent is to bring prosperity to Montfern in the form of a luxury hotel built from the ruins of an old estate. Instead, the villagers see their lifestyles irrevocably changed and the town's inner harmonies disrupted in the four years it takes to build O'Neill's hotel. Binchy ( Light a Penny Candle , LJ 2/15/83) offers vital, complex characters, from John and Kate Ryan, whose pub will be threatened by the new hotel, to Miss Barry, the canon's alcoholic housekeeper. These people live in all their quirky individualism and will remain with the reader long after the book is completed. Accolades. Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.