Review and Redesign | Light a Penny Candle

Book: Light a Penny Candle, by Maeve Binchy

(Review contain spoilers)

The Book Review

I told a friend that reading this book felt like watching Benjamin Button: it was like I was reading the story backwards, a happy beginning and a crescendo of unhappiness until it ends and leaves you feeling unresolved and unsatisfied. My friend suggested that I rewrite the ending in my head, and I did. (Skip rest of this sentence to avoid the ending spoiler) To me, the story ended with Aisling, Elizabeth, and Eileen moving to Aisling’s cottage in Kilgarett, to take over Sean O’Connor’s business and raise Eileen. In my head-ending, they also adopted lots of stray cats and lost Johnny Stone’s number.

I did love this book, though, Maeve Binchy did such a brilliant job telling the story of Aisling and Elizabeth, and I really felt part of their lives. In a way, it was very similar to reading the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. It was a similar time period and a lot of the story is told through letters. It’s interesting how characters come alive and become real through letters. Diaries rarely work as well as this. It was still frustrating at times to read the story, because of all that happens to Aisling and Elizabeth. Maeve Binchy spends time at the beginning making you get to know and care about those girls like they were your friends, and that makes it all the harder to see all they go through in their life.

I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars. I liked it, and if you like historical fiction, and books set in the UK, or books set in the 40s-60s, you may enjoy this as much as I did.

The Quote

...but mainly, she felt he brought a lot of it on himself. Not his deafness, not his veins, but his rejections and his disappointment. He went out halfway to invite it.
— Maeve Binchy, "Light a Penny Candle"

The Cover Redesign


I’ve been really loving some more simple illustration I’ve been seeing on redesigned covers of classic novels. Although this is not exactly grand literature, I felt like that style of illustration would be perfect for the time period of this story. It’s similar to what I did on my redesign of Guernsey, and I really like this type of simple drawings. I also wanted the girls worlds to be flipped, with their hands extending to meet in the middle. It sort of looks more like they are waving at each other, now that I look at it, but…

Aisling’s bright red hair is my favorite thing about this. I loved the section of the book that talked about them as young girls, and that’s what I wanted to show here with this cover redesign. It might give the wrong impression that this is a happy story, but to be fair, I thought it was with the original cover too. I don’t know why, and it’s not that I am disappointed that it didn’t have a happy ending… But my drawing is sort of a nod to the ending that could have been.