Maeve Binchy creates characters and a sense of place so well, she was quite simply born to write. This coming of age tale focuses mainly on Benny Hogan and her friend Eve who live in a small Irish village in 1957. Benny is an only child, plump and plain, whose parents are very controlling. Both girls are off to Dublin to attend Trinity College. There they meet beautiful Nan Mahon and handsome Jack Fogerty. The four, with a few others, form a close circle of friends. Surprisingly, it’s Benny who catches Jack’s eye. Nan dates an older man who won’t marry her when she gets pregnant. Meanwhile, Benny’s father dies and she has to be at home which frustrates Jack. Sensing opportunity, Nan seduces Jack and convinces him the baby is his. He feels obligated to propose, breaking Benny’s heart. Binchy resolves the matter in great style. Like all her books, Circle of Friends provides compelling slice of life drama.