Light a Penny Candle - Maeve Binchy

Light a Penny Candle

By Maeve Binchy

  • Release Date: 1983-04-11
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
From 241 Ratings


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


  • Middle of the Road

    By Mac-Chick
    I love Maeve Binchy’s writing and I have enjoyed so many of her books. This is not one of her best in my opinion. I love how the story starts in the present and then we are taken back to the beginning. And there are wonderful characters in the book; colorful, interesting, irritating, heartwarming, good, bad and in-between. The friendship between the main characters is heartwarming. You really do get a sense of how life was during this timeframe and a flavor for both Ireland and England which is Binchy’s strong suit and where her talent lies. The book is a bit long and while I don’t have any problems with fat books as long as they keep me engrossed, this one wavered a bit. We see the two main characters as they grow from children to teen to women discovering the world and wanting to live fully versus being forced into the roles women typically were forced to play out. The ending, however, kind of left me feeling flat. Had the ending left me satisfied and full I would have enjoyed the whole experience more.
  • Great book

    By HonRN
    Loved it! She knew how to paint a picture with words.
  • Once again, another hit!

    By La10644
    Simply amazing how her stories captivate you! Could not put this book down!
  • Brilliant, bravo Ms. Binchy

    By Lisa Barton
    Murder, intrigue, lies, betrayal, friendship that is stronger than all relationships. This book was awesome, I love the O' Connor family, kinda an Angela Ashes but with a twist of fun that only Maeve can write. I love how she used the history of world war II Rations and what it was like to live with shipping children to a safe place because of bombs. This book will keep you up into the wee hours of the night and when your done, it will have you call your best friend and renew all that makes up the meaning of friendship. Must read!
  • Great story of two womens lives

    By Pccaw
    I read this years ago and still love the story enough to reread it. Compelling and heart wrenching. A lovely evocation of 20th century England and Ireland. If you enjoy the chronicles of a lifetime told through central characters and their struggles this is a great book.