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Audio Drama Review

Book Cover

Maeve Binchy
Firefly Summer


Author: Maeve Binchy
Starring: David Soul, Anna Healy, Lorcan Cranitch and Susan Slot
BBC Audio
RRP: £15.99
ISBN: 978 1 4084 0061 6
Available 12 June 2008

In Mountfern, life meanders as slowly as the river running through it. The pace has hardly changed since the great house burned down in the Troubles and its shell became an ivy-clad playground for the local children. But when Patrick O'Neil arrives from the States with grand plans to turn the ruins of Fernscourt into Ireland's finest hotel, ripples begin to appear on the surface calm of this backwater...

Firefly Summer was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between June and July 1996 and is based on Maeve Binchy's 1987 novel of the same name.

The story is set in the '60s and follows Patrick O'Neill, an American businessman, who has returned to the rural town of Mountfern ("the land of his ancestors") to build a resort out of a neglected and run down old castle. The local pub, which is run by the Ryan family, will probably have to close if O'Neill's project goes ahead, and we are witness to the events as they unfold over a few years.

Brimming with speculation about the wealthy, charming American, the little community wonders how he will affect their lives. Unfortunately, some will learn all too painfully that their peaceful world is about to be changed irreversibly and that new friendships, passions and tragedies will destroy the old Mountfern forever.

This is, ultimately, a love story. And one that will, no doubt, be warmly received by old romantics and fans of Binchy.

One slight point, worth mentioning is that the CD we reviewed seemed to have a printing error on the cover. While the small booklet inside the CD case clearly states the CD's title, Firefly Summer, the main cover has the title missing. Therefore anyone looking for this on bookstore shelves will probably have a job tracking it down, as it appears to be called "Maeve Binchy". Although this shouldn't be too much of a problem as the spine and back cover does mention its title.

At the end of the day, this is an enjoyable production that is well worth adding to your collection.


Amber Leigh

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