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Firefly Summer (1987)

de Maeve Binchy

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1,438219,462 (3.66)39
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 aristocracy--especially the widows and spinsters--vie for his attention, while the villagers are beguiled 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 and her husband own a pub that is bound to suffer when the hotel opens. Other characters all memorably portrayed come 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.… (més)
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I seem to be having issues with really getting into Maeve Binchy's earliest works. This one, "Firefly Summer" went on forever. There were way too many characters to keep track of, lack of character development though some characters reach epiphanies, an overall plot, and several side plots, and an abrupt ending to the whole thing.

Starting in 1962, the main focus of "Firefly Summer" is the Ryan family living in the Irish village of Mountfern. Parents John and Kate have five children (Twins Dara and Michael, Eddie and Declan) and are doing their best running their family owned pub. Things change for the family and village when American Patrick O'Neil decides to build a hotel in Mountfern. Due to the hotel being built, it is going to directly impact a lot of businesses, especially the Ryan pub which is going to have to deal with a loss of customers. Patrick has two children named Grace and Kerry who also end up impacting the Ryan family in a lot of ways as well.

There are so many other primary (Patrick O'Neil's hidden mistress/girlfriend Rachel Fine) and secondary characters (the Ryan's live in help Carrie) I would be here all day listing them out. Honestly I wish that the book had just stuck with the Ryan family and their POV throughout the book. Instead we get everyone's POV in this book and the whole thing feels so jumbled. I also kept getting people mixed up here and there, but just went with it because I wasn't in the mood to go back and re-read where they first got introduced.

I will say that my favorite characters in this would be Kate Ryan and Rachel Fine. I loved their friendship and thought it was interesting that Ms. Binchy would include a Jewish character in her book in order to showcase how America in the 1960s was prejudiced against those of a different religious background than Catholic.

Kate Ryan was definitely the heart of this story for me. She loves her family and wants to do everything she can to see them all safe and happy. When an accident happens that impacts her family you get to see how the village pulls together to take care of one of their own.

Rachel Fine I found to be a complex character who I really wanted to tell her to just be done with Patrick O'Neil. Rachel has put up with not being able to really be with Patrick like she wants because she has to deal with knowing her religion keeps Patrick from being officially "seen" with her as anything but her boss. Towards the end of the book we get Rachel finally seeing Patrick as he is and she realizes that she needs to move on. Of course it took like another 100 pages before she did.

I have to say the characters I found the most frustrating were the Ryan twins. I thought they were both beyond self absorbed and obsessed with Grace and Kerry O'Neil respectively. It just got beyond boring for me to keep reading about teenage love when there were so many other side plots going on. Anytime we switched to Dara and her obsessing over Kerry the book dragged. Same issue with Michael and Grace.

The writing is not typical Binchy to me. This whole book felt very long-winded. I like her later novels and short stories when she can tell you so much in just a few short words. Everything in this book felt over explained and described.

The flow was terrible. An event would be brought up and we would get six people's POV on it. The whole book just lumbered until we got almost to the end.

The setting of Mountfern didn't really come alive for me in this book like in previous Binchy novels. I would be able to tell you about all of the people, places in her other books and this one I am still confused on the layout of the town and other people's homes.

The ending was abrupt and the whole book comes to just a stop. I wish there had been an epilogue or something. After trudging through 600 plus pages I felt cheated that we really don't get an idea of what happened to characters. I can guess, but it be nice to have it confirmed. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
I think i need to be in a different headspace or try a different format. ( )
  audraelizabeth | Aug 28, 2019 |
Mountfern

This is the story of a small village in the Midlands of Ireland called Mountfern. Patrick O'Neill decides to return to ireland, to mounted where his father was from, but the old house Fernscourt, where his father was a servant and was kicked out, and make it a hotel. It takes five years or so to get the hotel built with many problems and tragedies over the years. The day of the opening of the hotel, tragedy strikes again. Really enjoyed this book. Maeve Binchy is a wonderful writer and I love her books. ( )
  CrystalToller | Mar 5, 2019 |
I love Ms. Binchy's stories. It makes me want to move to Ireland and live with these people.

Mr. O'Neill arrives in sleepy Fernscourt to build his hotel. His arrival sparks a chain of events that turns the town inside out. ( )
  cubsfan3410 | Sep 1, 2018 |
Another excellent read from Maeve Binchy about life and change in a small Irish settlement in the 1960s. ❤️ ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Aug 8, 2017 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Maeve Binchyautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Barton, PaulFotògrafautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tophinke, HeinzTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wulfekamp, UrsulaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
WVK-groepTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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I want to thank all my friends for their support and encouragement, particularly Rosie Cheetham and Chris Green.

And to Gordon Snell, who has made my life so good and so happy, I would like to dedicate "Firefly Summer" with all my gratitude and all my love.
Primeres paraules
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The sun came in at a slant and hit all the rings and marks on the bar counter.
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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 aristocracy--especially the widows and spinsters--vie for his attention, while the villagers are beguiled 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 and her husband own a pub that is bound to suffer when the hotel opens. Other characters all memorably portrayed come 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.

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Mitjana: (3.66)
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