Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
Desmond and Deirdre Doyle will have been married for twenty-five years in October. It falls to the Doyles' eldest daughter, Anna, to decide how best to commemorate her parents' Silver Wedding. No use asking her sister Helen, living in her London convent, or her brother Brendan, who has chosen another form of exile on a bleak farm in the West of Ireland.But it is unthinkable not to have a party, even though for the Doyles, family occasions are more difficult than for most. For each of them is keeping up a front, nursing a secret wound, or smarting over a hidden betrayal. And as the day draws nearer, so the tension mounts, until finally the guests gather at the party itself...
Originally published: Century, 1988.
Paperback -Desmond and Deirdre Doyle will have been married for twenty-five years in October. It falls to the Doyles' eldest daughter, Anna, to decide how best to commemorate her parents' Silver Wedding. No use asking her sister Helen, living in her London convent, or her brother Brendan, who has chosen another form of exile on a bleak farm in the West of Ireland. But it is unthinkable not to have a party, even though for the Doyles, family occasions are more difficult than for most. For each of them is keeping up a front, nursing a secret wound, or smarting over a hidden betrayal. And as the day draws nearer, so the tension mounts, until finally the guests gather at the party itself...
"This is a collection of six interlinked stories about a family preparing for the parent's silver wedding anniversary and the skeletons this drags from the cupboard. Gradually, as the stories develop, it becomes obvious that the marriage is far from happy and the anniversary itself a sham." -- Publisher.
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Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
The arrangements for celebrating Desmond and Deirdre Doyle's forthcoming silver wedding anniversary fall to Anna, their eldest daughter, who works in a pretentious London bookshop. Anna proceeds to make a list of guests, most important of whom, besides her parents and herself, are her sister Helen, brother Brendan, and three other participants in the wedding ceremony: the best man, Frank Quigley; Maureen Barry, the maid of honor; and Father Hurley. Each leisurely chapter deals with one of these characters, detailing their lives in the 25 years since the Doyle's marriage. Binchy ( Firefly Summer) exhibits her gift for astute and loving characterization as she examines the way relationships and families work. She engagingly delineates the pressures, both stated and unstated, that repel or attract, the striving for approval from parents and lovers. At the silver wedding celebration, when the obligatory photograph is taken for the family album, the reader knows well what fears and doubts, secrets and achievements lie behind the happy smiles. Readers Digest Condensed Book selection; BOMC featured alternate; major ad/promo. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Book Review
A likable family novel centered on the approaching 25th wedding anniversary of a quiescently unhappy Irish-born couple in an undistinguished suburb of London. Like Gordon in The Other Side (see below), Binchy profiles and reviews the pasts of family (and friends) attending a family occasion, but here, the principals have made--or are about to make--watershed decisions affecting love and life, and it's generally happy endings all around. Deirdre and Desmond Doyle have a wall covered with photos of ""Major Celebrations""--christenings, graduations, etc.--but life to both has seemed to be just photos on a wall. To the couple's three children, the parents were always ""hiding things""--like the time Desmond lost his job with Palazzo Foods and no one was to talk about it; rather, they were to ""pretend"" it didn't happen. Daughter Anne, abed in London with a handsome, unfaithful lover, dreads the upcoming celebration. Her brother Brendan, to the horror of all, took off to work on an uncle's poor, rocky farm in the West of Ireland, and sister Helen, a klutz hoping for official sisterhood at the convent, seems hopeless. Anne also faces a crisis re her lover; Brenden confronts a clash of life styles; and Helen, the despair of the convent, has blundered into all sorts of troubles, including an unwitting seduction and a kidnapping. Meanwhile, in the extended family: Deirdre's friend Maureen loses a mother (both real and ideal) and finds a father; Frank Quigley, Desmond's old friend from Ireland, now widely successful, has loved well but unwisely and hoards a guilty secret; and Father Hurley, who married the Doyles, has made a terrible sacrifice. Eventually, Desmond finds a new, prideful career, and Deirdre hears some home truths. But it's a grand celebration after all. Once again, Binchy (Firefly Summer, 1988; Light a Penny Candle, 1983) focuses on attractive people you care about--in a companionable, neat, popular novel. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.