All of her friends were getting married, and behind the craic and the laughs, she was a lonely woman. Spinsterhood and caring for her father was the reality. It was here she met, finally, the love of her life. Gordon, a freelance broadcaster, was tall and boyishly handsome, with quite a crop of hair. Maeve and Gordon gelled immediately, partly because they shared the same kind of humour, but also because of their differences.
He was really the perfect foil for Maeve. Gordon made her believe that she could do anything she set her mind to, as her mother had believed. Maeve moved to London and their relationship flourished. Gordon was 44 and Maeve 37 when they tied the knot at Hammersmith Register Office. She and Gordon were bitterly disappointed.
She approached the problem as she approached everything else that beset her in life: positively and pragmatically. The disappointment united them in a shared lifestyle. In common with Joyce and Dickens, the two writers who influenced her most and whose work she loved, Maeve was becoming increasingly sympathetic to the everyday lives of ordinary people, to the minutiae of their day. She was forever eavesdropping on conversations she heard on a bus or in a restaurant, and even learnt to lip-read.
In demand as a journalist, she was also known to publishers for her inventive short stories. When word got around that she was contemplating writing a novel, there was a flurry of interest. The novel turned out to be Light a Penny Candle, a tale of friendship that survives against the odds between an Irish Catholic girl and an English evacuee.
The manuscript was seized upon by publishers and there was a bidding war; her editor, Rosie de Courcy, predicted correctly that publication would make Maeve a millionaire. It was published in , entered the top 10 immediately, and remained there for 53 weeks. She was The book became a world-wide hit.
Maeve Binchy The Biography (FS) H/B Piers Dudgeon
Touring France, she was invited to the highly cerebral book programme, Apostrophes. She looked up nervously to see how they took it and, thankfully, they were all nodding sagely in agreement. To order, call or visit books. Love puzzles? Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles.
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The subscription details associated with this account need to be updated. Please update your billing details here to continue enjoying your subscription. Your subscription will end shortly. Binchy was in her early forties when her debut Light A Penny Candle got published. Friends knew it would change her life and it did.
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It was her first international bestseller. There had to be some grit for the pearl to form around. Related: Books. Toggle navigation.
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