As a child, Elizabeth White was sent from her war-torn London home to a safer life in the small Irish town of Kilgarret. It was there, in the crowded, chaotic O'Connor household, that she met Aisling--who would become her very best friend, sharing her pet kitten and secretly teaching her the intricacies of Catholicism. Aisling's boldness brought Elizabeth out of her proper shell; later, her support carried Elizabeth through the painful end of her parents' chilly marriage. In return, Elizabeth's friendship helped Aisling endure her own unsatisfying marriage to a raging alcoholic. Through the years, they always believed they could overcome any conflict, conquer any hardship. They believed they could survive anything, as long as they had each other. Now they're about to find out if they were right...
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1 . Store is fantastic
Posted December 25, 2010 by therese , montrealLove this book, could have read another 400 pages. Nearly bought all her books, hope she write more soon.
January 31, 2001
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Excerpt from Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy
It had been very dull and matter-of-fact in the coroner's court. No great raised bench with wigged judges, no dock, no uniformed police calling down the corridors for the next person to appear. It was actually quite like an ordinary office; there were books in glass-fronted cases, and lino on the floor--at one corner it had definitely been nibbled or chewed by something.
Outside, the world was going on normally. Buses passed by, no one stopped to see them. A man in a taxi read his newspaper and didn't even raise his eyes as the little group came out on to the street.
Both the women wore black, but then they would have worn black anyway if they had been going somewhere formal. Aisling wore a black velvet blazer over a gray dress. It was an outfit that made her copper hair look even more coppery than usual. Elizabeth wore her good black coat. She had bought it at a January sale two years before for half price and the sales woman had said it was the only genuine bargain in the store. ``It'll take you anywhere, my dear,'' she had said, and Elizabeth had liked the sound of that-.-.-. it reminded her of a magic carpet.
Although the rest of the world took no notice, the little group watched them for a moment. Elizabeth, putting her hand up over her eyes as she turned the corner, came out on to the steps leading down into the street. Aisling stood on the steps already. They looked at each other for a long time--probably only seconds, but that can be a long time.-.-.-.
PART ONE1940-19451Violet finished the library book and closed it with a snap. Yet again, a self-doubting, fluttery, bird-brain heroine had been swept away by a masterful man. He would silence her protests with kisses, the urgency of his passion would express itself in all sorts of positive ways.-.-.-. He would organize the elopement or the wedding plans or the emigration to his South American estates. The heroine would never have to make all the arrangements herself, standing in queues at the travel agency, the ticket office, the passport office. Violet had to do everything herself. She had come back from an endless morning of standing in shops to beat the shortages. Other women seemed to enjoy it, to think of it as a game of hunt-the-thimble. ``I'll tell you where there's bread if you tell me how you got those carrots.''
Violet had been to the school and had a highly unsatisfactory discussion with Miss James. Miss James was not going to organize any evacuation for her class. All the parents so far had friends or relations in the country. There was no question of the whole class decamping and continuing their education in some rural setting with safety from bombs and plenty of good country food. Miss James had said quite tartly that she was certain Mr. and Mrs. White must have friends outside London. Violet wondered suddenly whether they had friends anywhere, city or country. She felt very dissatisfied with Miss James for forcing her to face this possibility. George did have some cousins in Somerset, near Wells. But they had lost touch. Oh yes, she'd read all the heart-warming stories of long-lost families having been brought together over the evacuation of children-.-.-. but somehow she didn't think it would happen to George. Violet had no relations to speak of. Her father and his second wife were in Liverpool, separated from her by a feud too long-lasting to dream of mending. To heal would be to open the wound, examine it and forgive. It was so long ago it was almost forgotten. Let it stay that way.
Elizabeth was so timid, so unsure of herself, she would not be an easy evacuee. She had inherited her father's awkwardness, Violet thought regretfully. She seemed to expect the worst from every situation. Well, perhaps it was better than having expected great things and having got so little.