Light a Penny Candle Book Summary, Ending, Quotes & Review 2024

Light a Penny Candle Book Summary, Ending, Quotes & Review 2024
Julia Scheeres
Julia Scheeres She/Her - Journalist/Book Author/Cat Mom April 23, 2024

Light a Penny Candle is about the enduring friendship between Elizabeth and Aisling, which begins during World War II and continues through the challenges of love, marriage, and family. Against the backdrop of Ireland, this story navigates the complexities of relationships and the impact of choices made in youth on the lives they lead as adults.

Light A Penny Candle Book Summary

Elizabeth, an English girl, is sent to live in Ireland with Aisling's family as World War II rages. A deep friendship forms between the two young girls, continuing through letters when Elizabeth returns to London.

Elizabeth's experiences in war-torn London and Aisling's challenges in Ireland shape their perspectives. Elizabeth's father marries, and she feels isolated, so she decides to return to Ireland.

Elizabeth's relationship with Aisling's brother, Sean, becomes romantic, but their love is cut short by a tragic accident. This loss deeply affects both families.

Years pass, and Elizabeth marries a man named Dermot. They have a son, John. Aisling, too, marries and has a son, Kevin. Elizabeth's marriage is unhappy, and she longs for the love she lost with Sean.

Dermot's infidelity leads to a breakdown in their marriage, and Elizabeth returns to London with John. Aisling and her family face their own challenges in Ireland.

John grows up in London, feeling the absence of his father. Elizabeth's and Aisling's lives continue to intertwine despite the physical distance between them.

As Elizabeth's life becomes more settled, Aisling's world is rocked by a personal tragedy. The two friends, now middle-aged, reflect on the choices they have made and the paths they have taken.

Elizabeth and Aisling's friendship stands the test of time, even as new relationships, heartbreaks, and family obligations shape their lives.

Aisling's son, Dermot, marries and has a child, deepening the family connections. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's son, John, begins to understand the complexities of his mother's past.

John's own romantic relationship with a girl named Catherine echoes the love and loss experienced by his mother and Aisling. The cycle of life and the impact of decisions made in youth is ever-present.

The story concludes with the characters reflecting on their journey. The enduring friendship between Elizabeth and Aisling has been a guiding light through the tumultuous events of their lives.

The legacy of their choices and the bonds they have formed have shaped not only their own destinies but also those of their children.

Elizabeth, Aisling, and their families have experienced the profound impact of love and loss, highlighting the enduring power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit.

Light A Penny Candle Quotes

  1. We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us.We all make choices, but in the end, our choices make us.
  2. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation.True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, b
  3. It's not the big things that add up in the end; it's the hundreds, thousands, millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.It

Light A Penny Candle Ending Explained

At the end of Light a Penny Candle, Aisling and Elizabeth, now in their later years, reflect on their lives and the enduring friendship that has sustained them through immense challenges and joys.

Despite the losses and hardships they've faced, they find solace in the memories they've shared and the impact they've had on each other's lives, as well as on the lives of their children.

The story concludes with a sense of closure and the understanding that the small, seemingly insignificant acts of love and kindness have indeed 'lit a penny candle' in the darkness, guiding them through the years.

Characters in book Light A Penny Candle

  • Elizabeth White: The main protagonist, a young English girl who is sent to Ireland during World War II to live with Aisling's family. She is spirited, kind-hearted, and faces the challenges of life with resilience.
  • Aisling O'Connor: Elizabeth's Irish friend, who is practical, loyal, and wise beyond her years. She forms an unbreakable bond with Elizabeth and their lives remain intertwined through the years.
  • Sean O'Connor: Aisling's brother, who is an important figure in both Elizabeth's and Aisling's life. His relationships and experiences have a significant impact on the story.
  • Frank White: Elizabeth's father, whose absence has a profound effect on Elizabeth and shapes her understanding of love and family.
  • Edward White: Elizabeth's half-brother, who later becomes an influential figure in her life, causing ripples in her relationships.
  • Sheila White: Elizabeth's stepmother, who has a complicated relationship with Elizabeth and Edward.
  • Elisabeth O'Connor: Aisling's mother, who becomes Elizabeth's surrogate mother and provides her with love and guidance during her formative years in Ireland.
  • John White: Elizabeth's son, whose birth and upbringing are detailed in the latter part of the book.
  • Dermot O'Connor: Aisling's son, whose life choices mirror those of his mother and Elizabeth, highlighting the theme of family legacy.
  • Kevin O'Connor: Aisling's husband, who plays a significant role in the O'Connor family and in Aisling's life.

Key Lessons

  • Value of Friendship: True friendship is a rare and precious gift that can endure the tests of time and adversity, providing comfort and support throughout a lifetime.
  • Resilience: The ability to bounce back from difficult situations and to keep going in the face of adversity is a crucial aspect of leading a fulfilling life.
  • Importance of Choices: The choices we make, both big and small, shape our lives and have a ripple effect that can influence not only our own future, but the futures of those around us.
  • Familial Bonds: The complexity of family relationships underscores the impact of love and conflict within a family, and how these dynamics can shape an individual's character.
  • Embracing Change: Change is inevitable and learning to adapt to it is key to personal growth and happiness.
  • Legacy and Reflection: Reflecting on one's life and the legacy they leave behind can provide insight and a sense of fulfillment in older age.

My Personal Opinion

Is Light a Penny Candle worth reading? Absolutely! I found its portrayal of friendship deeply moving and the narrative's exploration of life's complexities to be both engaging and thought-provoking.

I was particularly drawn to the rich character development and the way the story spans decades, allowing for a genuine understanding of the impact of the characters' choices. On the flip side, the length of the novel can be daunting, and the pace occasionally lags, but the emotional depth and insight more than compensate for this.

I would say this book is for those who appreciate character-driven narratives and are interested in the exploration of human relationships. It resonates with readers who have experienced the ebbs and flows of life and cherish the enduring value of friendship.