Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined the Irish Times. Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982. She went on to write many bestsellers, including Minding Frankie, Heart and Soul, Whitethorn Woods, Circle of Friends and Tara Road, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection. She also wrote for Gourmet; O, The Oprah Magazine; Modern Maturity; and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. Maeve Binchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Book Awards in 1999 and the Irish PEN/A.T. Cross award in 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards by the then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years and died in 2012, shortly after finishing this book.