These messages are from Maeve Binchy’s readers, with whom she had such a close and special relationship. This is only a selection from the huge mailbag that continues to arrive, all of which are passed on to her family:
I just re-read Quentins and Evening Class. What a terrific writer she was. There was never a story I wasn’t totally captivated by. She had an uncanny knack of making her characters the story but the backdrop was always Dublin.
– Paula Stacey, Denver, Colorado, USA
I really enjoyed the get away her books gave me. You brought me so much joy.
Maeve saved my life. I was a homesick and scared 21 year old and thought in detail of ending my life. I never read! I happened into a book store and thought the Circle of Friends cover was pretty and the story sounded worth a try. I loved it and from there looked for other books to keep my mind off myself. I became an avid reader. Since then, I have read most of Maeve’s books. Only my husband and I know the reason I save her books on my shelf. I am 43 and have been married now for 20 years with two wonderful kids. Those dark days are gone now.
To this day, when I see a book by Maeve, I am so thankful to her for saving my life.
– Name withheld
Her books and short stories not only uplifted me but they made be rejoice in each ones new release. Of the thousands of books I have read in my life, she has been my favorite author. She has also become my inspiration as a writer myself. Never will I be as good as her nor will any writer out there at the present. She had a gift that should be cherished by writers and readers alike. Her characters made us feel welcome in their lives. Their stories made us long for them to be blessed. It’s not often that any write can draw in their readers the way she did. She was remarkable.
– Julie, Virigina, USA
She touched the Irish heart in me. By reading her books you really saw into her soul.
Her books have always touched my heart especially when I have re-read them during difficult and challenging times in my life and they helped me get through these times with her humour and wit.
– Di Porter, Australia
Maeve Binchy taught me to love reading again. Thank you.
– Lynda Sheppard, Washington USA
I am a fan, like so many. I decided a long time ago that Maeve was my favourite writer and so she was. I first read The Glass Lake and still today I can feel the profound effect it had on me… I love books but I love even more the books of Maeve Binchy.
– Brandon Rennie
Her books were constant companions to me when I was single. I started reading Maeve’s books on the weekends almost twenty years ago, when my married friends were with their families. I continued to read and love all her books long after starting a family of my own. Thank you old friend.
– [no name]
Maeve is my favourite writer. I’ve enjoyed all her books in English or translated into French. My favourite one is undoubtedly ‘Evening class’ since I’m a teacher and I taught English to adults for a few years.
She wrote of ordinary people, leading ordinary and often, extraordinary lives, and made the reader lose themselves into the world she painted with words. I loved the way she brought back the same characters and caught you up on their activities, and always, always, you cared about what happened.
– Peggy R. Ludi, Texas USA
The first Maeve Binchy book I ever read was ‘Evening Class’. My mom brought it to me when I was in the hospital for chronic depression. There was something about that book that was so reassuring. It’s the way Maeve wrote. When you read one of her books, you feel as if you’re a dear friend, and you’re sitting at her kitchen table and she’s telling you a story. After I was released from the hospital I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had a tough decade. I read every single one of Maeve’s books and looked forward to each one as they came out. I bought her books on tape, then on CD, now many of them are on my iPod. Maeve was a generous person, full of heart, and will be missed by so many people.
– Ruth, Canada
I love Maeve Binchy and all of her books. I knew by her writing style that she was a good kind loving person.
– Joyce Davis, Virginia, USA
Maeve, you have given me many hours of happy reading, cheered me up through hard times in my life with your wonderful stories always with a theme of hope and optimism shining through them and a great insight into people and characters.
We feel our summer holidays will never be the same without the pleasure of one of Maeve’s books, and though we hadn’t met her, we were so touched by her books that we feel we have lost a dear friend.
– Michelle, Oxfordshire
Her stories were delightful, charming and a joy to read. Such a lovely author, she had to be a magnificent person as well.
– Paula Dycaico
Mrs Meave Binchy gave so much pleasure with her books, to so many people worldwide, no one can take that away, and by her books she will stay alive in the memories.
– Maaike de Jong-Stutje, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
She was a very special writer and I get the feeling that she was quite special as a person too.
– Sandra Lawrence, London
I live outside Ireland so when reading her stories it was as if I still lived there. I will miss her even though I never actually met her, I do feel as if I knew her.
– Deirdre Eadie
I have loved her books all of my life and I feel there will be a big void now, her lovely kind open face, wonderful smile and great courage she was a lady – I lost my sister to cancer in 1995 and annually we organise Nollaig na mBan (women’s christmas) and when I contacted Meave requesting a book for the draw held on the night, it arrived a few days later with a lovely letter and signed copy – it meant the world to me and I was very reluctant to give it as a prize as I wanted to keep it myself but I didn’t.
– Marie Lavelle, Ireland
Maeve Binchy’s books always cheered me, left me feeling a bit uplifted. And that’s her great legacy: the way she counteracted the depressing effects of world news and economic disasters. For many people also, they are a comfort in personal sadness and a reminder that love and friendship can help through hard times. Her books have helped a lot of people, and they’re all still there for new generations of readers.
– Jane Wright
What a wonderful, funny, charming and expressive writer she was and the way she reintroduced old characters into new tales was just brilliant. I’ve enjoyed all of her stories. Generally I don’t really absorb what I’m typing but with Maeve’s work it was different and I have found myself not only reading and enjoying the story as it unfolds but also buying her books and reading them again – what a pleasure.
– Alison Sieff, Maeve’s typist, Hertfordshire, England
Ms Binchy always wrote with truth and honesty and was extremely talented.
– Annette Tribe
I just felt a need to tell ‘someone’ how much Maeve’s books meant to me. I have every one of them on my bookshelf and while I pass along most books for others to read I have never been able to let Maeve’s go. It brought such a smile to my face when I would see a new one in the bookstore. I’d start reading it in the line-up and could barely put it down for the drive home to put the kettle on!
– Patricia, Canada
Before reading Maeve Binchy, reading was a chore for me, one to only be endured, but not relished. But from the moment I picked up my first book by Maeve, I would happily stay up until 4 a.m. reading, laughing, and sometimes crying for characters that I truly loved… Like so many, I’m truly grateful that Maeve shared her extraordinary gift of writing with the world.
For some people, stews are ‘comfort food’. Maeve’s beautiful tales performed that task for me. They evoked a time of greater forbearance and gentleness better than any other writer.
– Patrick Murphy
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed Ms Binchy’s books. I picked up the first, ‘Light a Penny Candle’ just after it was published and I’ve been a fan ever since. After I read it, I gave it to my Mom to read, and she became a life-long fan. My sisters and nieces became fans as well. Ms Binchy’s books were a no-brainer gift for my Mom, anytime, any occasion, I knew she’d love the latest as much as she’d loved the last. I lost my Mom in 2006 and can no longer share the books with her. But every time I read one, I feel my Mom sitting close by – maybe waiting for me to finish, maybe reading over my shoulder – but there. Somehow, these books always bring her close. I hope Ms Binchy knows how much happiness she brought to so many of us.
– Louise Praught, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I have spent many happy hours reading all of her books.
– Eileen Peterson
I have read her books for years and enjoyed every one of them.
– Mary Jo Singleton, Texas, USA
She was always an exhilarating presence. She had the joyful talent of making people feel happier for meeting her, and that talent was in her writing as well.
– Clare Colvin, London
I devoured every bit of her writing I could find. On my first visit to Ireland in 2005 the first thing I did on landing at Shannon was to buy Moments, right at the airport. I was so happy to find that book – it made the perfect homecoming imprint and let me feel I was binding myself to the country as I travelled along, reading as I went.
– Terry McMahon, St Albert, AB, Canada
She was a lovely lady whom I met at a book signing in London. I just loved her stories and her warm characters.
– Julie Cameron
My mother, daughter and I have read all her books and even visited Ireland because of her inspiration and our heritage.
– Lisa Abb
She was and will most likely remain my all time favorite author. I could ‘feel’ her heart in each book.
– Penny Cummings, Ohio, USA
I have read all of her books multiple times since I was a young girl and I can honestly say there will never be another like her. Even though I didn’t know her, in some way I felt as if I did and I loved her too.
– Anna Gonzalez, Orlando, Florida
I will miss Maeve with all my heart. Next to the bible, the writings that I have learned the most about life from was her wonderful books.
– Deborah Harold
My favorite author. I read all her books, fiction and nonfiction, some more than once. All of them but one I got from my library. Minding Frankie I actually bought; however, I donated it to my public library when I was done because her writings needed always to be shared with the world.
– Janine Gordley, Virginia, USA
I lived in Dublin towards the end of the 70s early 80s and so, on my return, was delighted to continue my love of Ireland though Light a Penny Candle.
– Kathy Szczegolski, London
You won’t remember me, but I contacted your office about 3 years ago to ask if Maeve could sign a copy of her new book for my mother for her 80th birthday. A few days later, I had a phonecall – it was Maeve herself! She had taken the time to ring me personally, and said she’d be honoured to send a signed copy of her latest book to me, and that, because I worked for the RSPCA, that there would be no charge and instead suggested I give a donation to the animal centre where I worked, which I did. She then went on to tell me about all the animals that she and her family had rescued over the years, and that she would be lost without a pet in the house. I know I didn’t know her personally, but those few minutes talking to her on the phone, and her sending us the book, meant a lot!
– Helen Tuite, Birmingham, UK
I feel like one of the family as well as Maeve and I go way back in the journey thru her books. She was an exceptional writer and wonderful story teller.
– Mary Ann Neilson, California, USA
Maeve’s books have brought me through pain, sadness, happiness and the daily struggles of life.
– Carol Hoekstra, Minnesota, USA
Her books have given me so much joy over the years, from my very early book club days. And I still read her books today because I truly want to. Her fiction truly resonates, and has an emotional reality that most authors can’t capture. And I remember all the wonderful things I have heard about her as a person.
– Olga Vezeris, New York