Minding Frankie

Minding Frankie

by Maeve Binchy

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Overview

New York Times Bestseller

A tale of joy, heartbreak and hope, about a motherless girl collectively raised by a close-knit Dublin community.

When Noel learns that his terminally ill former flame is pregnant with his child, he agrees to take guardianship of the baby girl once she’s born. But as a single father battling demons of his own, Noel can’t do it alone. 

Fortunately, he has a competent, caring network of friends, family and neighbors: Lisa, his unlucky-in-love classmate, who moves in with him to help him care for little Frankie around the clock; his American cousin, Emily, always there with a pep talk; the newly retired Dr. Hat, with more time on his hands than he knows what to do with; Dr. Declan and Fiona and their baby son, Frankie’s first friend; and many eager babysitters, including old friends Signora and Aidan and Frankie’s doting grandparents, Josie and Charles. 

But not everyone is pleased with the unconventional arrangement, especially a nosy social worker, Moira, who is convinced that Frankie would be better off in a foster home. Now it’s up to Noel to persuade her that everyone in town has something special to offer when it comes to minding Frankie.

"Joyful, quintessential Binchy." —O, The Oprah Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307475497
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/27/2011
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 237,717
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.13(d)

About the Author

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, and she went on to write more than twenty books, all of them best sellers. Several have been adapted for film and television, most notably Circle of Friends and Tara Road, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for thirty-five years, and died in 2012 at the age of seventy-two.

www.maevebinchy.com

Hometown:

Dublin, Ireland, and London, England

Date of Birth:

May 28, 1940

Place of Birth:

Dalkey, a small village outside Dublin, Ireland

Education:

Holy Child Convent in Killiney; B.A. in history, University College, Dublin, 1960

Read an Excerpt

Binchy: MINDING FRANKIE

Chapter One

Katie Finglas was coming to the end of a tiring day in the salon. Anything bad that could happen had happened. A woman had not told them about an allergy and had come out with lumps and a rash on her forehead. A bride’s mother had thrown a tantrum and said that she looked like a laughingstock. A man who had wanted streaks of blond in his hair became apoplectic when, halfway through the process, he had inquired what they would cost. Katie’s husband, Garry, had placed both his hands innocently on the shoulders of a sixty-year-old female client, who had then told him that she was going to sue him for sexual harassment and assault.

Katie looked now at the man standing opposite her, a big priest with sandy hair mixed with gray.

“You’re Katie Finglas and I gather you run this establishment,” the priest said, looking around the innocent salon nervously as if it were a high-class brothel.

“That’s right, Father,” Katie said with a sigh. What could be happening now?

“It’s just that I was talking to some of the girls who work here, down at the center on the quays, you know, and they were telling me . . .”

Katie felt very tired. She employed a couple of high school dropouts: she paid them properly, trained them. What could they have been complaining about to a priest?

“Yes, Father, what exactly is the problem?” she asked.

“Well, it is a bit of a problem. I thought I should come to you directly, as it were.” He seemed a little awkward.

“Very right, Father,” Katie said. “So tell me what it is.”

“It’s this woman, Stella Dixon. She’s in hospital, you see . . .”

“Hospital?” Katie’s head reeled. What could this involve? Someone who had inhaled the peroxide?

“I’m sorry to hear that.” She tried for a level voice.

“Yes, but she wants a hairdo.”

“You mean she trusts us again?” Sometimes life was extraordinary.

“No, I don’t think she was ever here before. . . .” He looked bewildered.

“And your interest in all this, Father?”

“I am Brian Flynn and I am acting chaplain at St. Brigid’s Hospital at the moment, while the real chaplain is in Rome on a pilgrimage. Apart from being asked to bring in cigarettes and drink for the patients, this is the only serious request I’ve had.”

“You want me to go and do someone’s hair in hospital?”

“She’s seriously ill. She’s dying. I thought she needed a senior person to talk to. Not, of course, that you look very senior. You’re only a girl yourself,” the priest said.

“God, weren’t you a sad loss to the women of Ireland when you went for the priesthood,” Katie said. “Give me her details and I’ll bring my magic bag of tricks in to see her.”

“Thank you so much. I have it all written out here.” Father Flynn handed her a note.

A middle-aged woman approached the desk. She had glasses on the tip of her nose and an anxious expression.

“I gather you teach people the tricks of hairdressing,” she said.

“Yes, or more the art of hairdressing, as we like to call it,” Katie said.

“I have a cousin coming home from America for a few weeks. She mentioned that in America there are places where you could get your hair done for near to nothing cost if you were letting people practice on you.”

“Well, we do have a students’ night on Tuesdays; people bring in their own towels and we give them a style. They usually contribute five euros to a charity.”

“Tonight is Tuesday!” the woman cried triumphantly.

“So it is,” Katie said through gritted teeth.

“So, could I book myself in? I’m Josie Lynch.”

“Great, Mrs. Lynch—see you after seven o’clock,” Katie said, writing down the name. Her eyes met the priest’s. There was sympathy and understanding there.

It wasn’t all champagne and glitter running your own hairdressing salon.

Josie and Charles Lynch had lived in 23 St. Jarlath’s Crescent since they were married thirty-two years ago. They had seen many changes in the area. The corner shop had become a mini-supermarket; the old laundry, where sheets had been ironed and folded, was now a Laundromat, where people left big bags bulky with mixed clothes and asked for a service wash. There was now a proper medical practice with four doctors where once there had been just old Dr. Gillespie, who had brought everyone into the world and seen them out of it.

During the height of the economic boom, houses in St. Jarlath’s Crescent had changed hands for amazing sums of money. Small houses with gardens near the city center had been much in demand. Not anymore, of course—the recession had been a great equalizer, but it was still a much more substantial area than it had been three decades ago.

After all, just look at Molly and Paddy Carroll, with their son Declan—a doctor—a real, qualified doctor! And just look at Muttie and Lizzie Scarlet’s daughter Cathy. She ran a catering company that was hired for top events.

But a lot of things had changed for the worse. There was no community spirit anymore. No church processions went up and down the Crescent on the feast of Corpus Christi, as they used to three decades ago. Josie and Charles Lynch felt that they were alone in the world, and certainly in St. Jarlath’s Crescent, in that they knelt down at night and said the Rosary.

That had always been the way.

When they married they planned a life based on the maxim that the family that prays together stays together. They had assumed they would have eight or nine children, because God never put a mouth into this world that He didn’t feed. But that wasn’t to happen. After Noel, Josie had been told there would be no more children. It was hard to accept. They both came from big families; their brothers and sisters had produced big families. But then, perhaps, it was all meant to be this way.

They had always hoped Noel would be a priest. The fund to educate him for the priesthood was started before he was three. Money was put aside from Josie’s wages at the biscuit factory. Every week a little more was added to the post office savings account, and when Charles got his envelope on a Friday from the hotel where he was a porter, a sum was also put into the post office. Noel would get the best of priestly educations when the time came.

So it was with great surprise and a lot of disappointment that Josie and Charles learned that their quiet son had no interest whatsoever in a religious life. The Brothers said that he showed no sign of a vocation, and when the matter had been presented to Noel as a possibility when he was fourteen, he had said if it was the last job on earth he wouldn’t go for it.

That had been very definite indeed.

Not so definite, however, was what he actually would like to do. Noel was vague about this, except to say he might like to run an office. Not work in an office, but run one. He showed no interest in studying office management or bookkeeping or accounting or in any areas where the careers department tried to direct him. He liked art, he said, but he didn’t want to paint. If pushed, he would say that he liked looking at paintings and thinking about them. He was good at drawing; he always had a notebook and a pencil with him and he was often to be found curled up in a corner sketching a face or an animal. This did not, of course, lead to any career path, but Noel had never expected it to. He did his homework at the kitchen table, sighing now and then, but rarely ever excited or enthusiastic. At the parent-teacher meetings Josie and Charles had inquired about this. They wondered, Did anything at school fire him up? Anything at all?

The teachers were at a loss. Most boys were unfathomable around fourteen or fifteen but they had usually settled down to do something. Or often to do nothing. Noel Lynch, they said, had just become even more quiet and withdrawn than he already was.

Josie and Charles wondered, Could this be right?

Noel was quiet, certainly, and it had been a great relief to them that he hadn’t filled the house up with loud young lads thumping one another. But they had thought this was part of his spiritual life, a preparation for a future as a priest. Now it appeared that this was certainly not the case.

Perhaps, Josie suggested, it was only the Brothers’ brand of religious life that Noel objected to. In fact, he might have a different kind of vocation and want to become a Jesuit or a missionary?

Apparently not.

And when he was fifteen he said that he didn’t really want to join in the family Rosary anymore; it was only a ritual of meaningless prayers chanted in repetition. He didn’t mind doing good for people, trying to make less fortunate people have a better life, but surely no God could want this fifteen minutes of drone drone drone.

By the time he was sixteen they realized that he didn’t go to Sunday Mass anymore. Someone had seen him up by the canal when he was meant to have been to the early Mass up in the church on the corner. He told them that there was no point in his staying on at school, as there was nothing more he needed to learn from them. They were hiring office staff up at Hall’s and they would train him in office routine. He might as well go to work straightaway rather than hang about.

The Brothers and the teachers at his school said it was always a pity to see a boy study and leave without a qualification, but still, they said, shrugging, it was very hard trying to interest the lad in anything at all. He seemed to be sitting and waiting for his schooldays to end. Could even be for the best if he left school now. Get him into Hall’s, the big builders’ merchants; give him a wage every week and then they might see where, if anywhere, his interest lay.

Josie and Charles thought sadly of the fund that had been growing in the post office for years. Money that would never be spent making Noel Lynch into a reverend. A kindly Brother suggested that maybe they should spend it on a holiday for themselves, but Charles and Josie were shocked. This money had been saved for God’s work; it would be spent on God’s work.

Noel got his place in Hall’s. He met his work colleagues but without any great enthusiasm. They would not be his friends and companions any more than his fellow students at the Brothers had become mates. He didn’t want to be alone all the time, but it was often easier.

Over the years Noel had arranged with his mother that he would not join them at meals. He would have his lunch in the middle of the day and he would make a snack for himself in the evening. This way he missed the Rosary, the socializing with pious neighbors and the interrogation about what he had done with his day, which was the natural accompaniment to mealtimes in the Lynch household.

He took to coming home later and later. He also took to visiting Casey’s pub on the journey home—a big barn of a place, both comforting and anonymous at the same time. It was familiar because everyone knew his name.

“I’ll drop it down to you, Noel,” the loutish son of the house would say. Old Man Casey, who said little but noticed everything, would look over his spectacles as he polished the beer glasses with a clean linen cloth.

“Evening, Noel,” he would say, managing to combine the courtesy of being the landlord with the sense of disapproval he had of Noel. He was, after all, an acquaintance of Noel’s father. It was as if he were glad that Casey’s was getting the price of the pint—or several pints—as the night went on but as well as this he seemed disappointed that Noel was not spending his wages more wisely. Yet Noel liked the place. It wasn’t a trendy pub with fancy prices. It wasn’t full of girls giggling and interrupting a man’s drinking. People left him alone here.

That was worth a lot.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“One of Binchy’s best works. She harmoniously handles a diverse group of characters, the good deeds that characterize life in Ireland are believable, and the ending is sweet. One hopes to find Frankie in one of Binchy’s future novels.” —Susan Rogers, Newark Star-Ledger
 
“Binchy’s world view is a large, benevolent one, and the reader is happier for it . . . bless her big Irish heart.” —Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Maeve Binchy has done it again [with] yet another warm tale of individual growth and human community, [in which] she assembles a large cast of characters and deploys them with her characteristic playfulness . . . Binchy specializes in exploring human foibles without spelling them out in tiresome detail . . . There’s a good chance that many readers, like this one, will consider Minding Frankie one of Binchy’s best novels yet.” —Maude McDaniel, BookPage
 
“Joyful, quintessential Binchy.” —Karen Holt, O, The Oprah Magazine 
 
“All across America, Maeve Binchy fans will be kicking off their shoes, making a nice cup of tea, and curling up on the couch as they re-enter Binchy’s cozy world. The Irish author returns here to a charming Dublin milieu of favorite characters from past novels, with some important new ones.” —Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times
 
“Binchy is a national treasure in her homeland of Ireland, and her latest novel is a perfect illustration of why.…Your heart will have no trouble recognizing the landscape [of this] touching saga.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Reading a Maeve Binchy novel is like settling in for a cozy visit with an old friend.  In vintage Binchy style, a cast of colorfully eccentric characters living in a snug Dublin neighborhood seamlessly weave in and out of each other’s lives, united by family, faith, friendship and community....Readers will need a box of tissues handy as the good-hearted residents of St. Jarlath’s Crescent prove that it does indeed take a ‘village to raise a child.’” —Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

Reading Group Guide

The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group's discussion of Minding Frankie, Maeve Binchy’s warm and engaging new novel.

1. Have you read any of Maeve Binchy’s other novels? How does this one compare?

2. If you’ve read other Binchy books, which characters did you recognize? Are there any you’d like to see in a future novel?

3. There are many parents in the book. Who would you say does the best job, and why?

4. There are a number of recent retirees, voluntary and otherwise, who become an important part of Frankie’s life. What kind of roles do her grandparents, Josie and Charles, take on? What about Dr. Hat and Muttie? More generally, what do the very young and the very mature have to offer each other?  Which generation do you think needs the other more?

5. “Emily told herself that she must not try to change the world. . . . But there were some irresistible forces that could never be fought with logic and practicality. Emily Lynch knew this for certain” (page 27). What “irresistible forces” does she mean? How does she fight them?

6. It’s clear what Noel gets from his relationship with Emily, but what does she get? How does the effect of alcoholism bond them? 

7. Discuss Lisa’s relationship with Anton. Why is she so oblivious to his less attractive qualities? What is her turning point?

8. Why is Moira so obsessed with Frankie’s fate? Is it just fear, or is there something more going on?

9. How does Moira define “family”? How does Emily?

10. Lisa says to Moira, “I have a lot of worries and considerations in my life, but minding Frankie sort of grounds me. It gives it all some purpose, if you know what I mean” (page 297). Among Frankie’s caretakers, who else might say this?

11. Discuss the ethics of Moira’s dealings with Eddie Kennedy. Should she have told him about her father?

12. Anton says to Lisa, “I’m not the villain here, you know,” and she responds, “I know. That’s why I’m angry. I got it so wrong . . . ” (page 388) What does she mean?

13. What did you think of Di Kelly’s reason for staying with her husband? What would you have done?

14. What is your opinion of Noel’s decision to get a DNA test? How would you have handled the results he received?

15. Many of the characters go through major upheavals in their lives. Who responds best, and why? Whose attitude changes the most?

16. What did you think of Stella’s letter to Frankie? What did we learn from it?


(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit www.readinggroupcenter.com)

Customer Reviews

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Minding Frankie 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 372 reviews.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Minding Frankie is the story of little Frankie Lynch whose mother died as she was giving birth. Her mother tells Noel Lynch that he is the father not long before she dies. A drunk who is unhappy in his work, he works hard to pull himself together for Frankie's sake. Helping, and occasionally, hindering him, are Binchy's usual cast of loveable, quirky characters - his parents who are obssessed with building a statue of Saint Jarleth, his long lost American cousin Emily who has just appeared, and those irrepressible twins. Everyone pitches in with advice and babysitting help until a cold and efficient social worker threatens to put Frankie in foster care. Minding Frankie is standard Maeve Binchy fare which is to say magic. As always there is the unusual but thoroughly engaging cast of characters, the lessons in love, and the heartwarming ending. The twins and Muttie provide plenty of humor to lighten things up. Reading this book is like crawling into a warm bed on a cold winter night, bringing comfort and contentment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Look for all those who keep complaining of the cost of the nookbooks, StOP complaining its your fault for buying one in the first place. Dont right a review based on the price of your stupid nookbook. The review is about the content in the story and it was wonderful no matter what the cost!!!!!!!!!
Fiona-Frazier More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down, and that doesn't happen very often. Although whenever I buy a Maeve Binchy book I can't put down. Love anything that set in Ireland. All of the characters were described so wonderfully that I could see them in my mind's eye. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next with all the characters. Thank you Maeve Binchy. Every since Shell Seekers I've been hooked on your books.
EffieTX More than 1 year ago
I can't see paying almost $15 for an electronic book I can't lend to a friend... So this book will be siting on my wish list unntil these gread publishers come to their senses...
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Dublin Stella is dying from cancer. She prays she lives long enough to give birth to the child she is carrying. Worrying about the raising of her infant, she informs alcoholic Noel Lynch that he is the father. He is confused as he does not have any recall of having sex with Stella, but admits he could have been in a drunken stupor, Noel has doubts he can deal with the responsibly of a kid when he cannot even take care of himself. Noel's cousin Emily from New York encourages him to stop drinking and to raise his daughter, Frankie born at St. Brigid's Hospital following the death of Stella. He joins AA, works diligently to be a good father and persuade Moira the social worker he will take proper care of his daughter; the latter proves the most difficult as the case worker has an agenda caused by her own unhappy childhood. Lisa the graphic artist moves into the home of father, daughter and visiting cousin, but also joins other residents of St. Jarlath's Crescent to help her host remain sober. As always in a Maeve Binchy drama, there is much more going on than the prime focus as characters from previous novels reappear either to help Noel as a single dad or to tell their tale. The Irish neighborhood horde are the heart and Soul of Minding Frankie as they also mind Noel. Moira proves to be much more than a stereotype enforcer and Lisa has relationship issues, as does St. Brigid's administrator Frank. These people and Noel contrast to Emily who does everything right for everyone else, but lives precariously through their lives. Fans will enjoy Ms. Binchy's latest tour of Dublin as it takes a caring neighborhood to raise a child. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was an absolute joy to read. I think that anyone can relate to the characters. The author really takes you for a ride in a community full of an interesting cast of characters of all ages and walks of life. From beginning to end, one becomes enamored with each one, as they navigate life's twists and turns, making decisions, weighing choices, and throughout it all, supporting one another. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
h8rain More than 1 year ago
This was my first Maeve Binchy novel and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it! This was a super cute book. Set in Ireland, this book had so many characters ( but they were easy to keep tract off) and lots going on, all based upon an unexpected arrival of a baby. I highly recommend!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I intend to read more of Maeve Binchy's books.
mayasmama More than 1 year ago
I love Maeve Binchy! This was a great book, very easy read. I like how her books often inter-connect to other books, as far as the characters go. Very nice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought the nook but can't share with anyone, and now these books are costing more for my eyes only! I still don't understand how the Nookbooks cost more than a printed copy that is shipped in trucks, put on shelves, sold by cashiers, and all managed by many levels of management....and cost more via internet?
Iggie More than 1 year ago
You don't even need to read the synopsis to know that it's going to be good. As in true Maeve Binchy fashion, this is another heart tugging read that brings characters to life before your eyes. Once again she incorporates characters from previous books to play roles in the lives of the characters in this one. If you have loved Maeve Binchy's books in the past, you will once again in this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story benefitted from a character rich cast. If only we all had neighborhoods like this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pure-hearted MAEVE BINCHY!
Chrissi1986 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this was quite a good book. It's easy to read. There are loads of characters. I think it may have worked better to have less and to focus on them in more depth, but still, it's worth a read if you enjoy Chick Lit.
birdsam0610 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Minding Frankie is the latest book from prolific Irish author Maeve Binchy. In this book, she brings back favourite characters (such as Father Brian, Declan, Fiona and Clara from Heart and Soul and Muttie, Lizzie and the twins), combining them with other new residents of St Jarlath¿s Crescent.Noel is a drifting alcoholic with a dead-end job. Lisa lives in a loveless home. Stella is about to die, with a baby on the way. Stella tells Noel he is the father, and the whole job of minding Frankie begins. Emily, Noel¿s American cousin, is the backbone of the whole street, organising everything. Moira is the social worker, determined to catch Noel out for neglecting Frankie.It¿s unusual to have `baddies¿ in Binchy books, but both Moira and Anton (Lisa¿s chef boyfriend) are only partly redeemed in this book. Still, good triumphs over evil. The plot focuses around the characters and their lives, linking them to Frankie. The twist at the end was rather hastily resolved I thought, but I couldn¿t really think of any other way to fix it in a Binchy-like way.It was great to have some familiar characters back, some playing a larger role (I won¿t spoil the drama) but if you¿re contemplating this as your first Binchy, don¿t be put off as it is all succinctly explained.A pleasant, warm read.
coolmama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my first (and last) Binchy, and from the reviews I had high expectations.It was a flat, Irish soap opera, with one dimensional characters, no background story, a third grade vocabulary and a totally predicable storyline!In St Jarlath's Crescent in Dublin, there is much abuzz and about when Cousin Emily (read Fairy Godmother) returns to Ireland after the death of her father, to discover her Irish roots. There is Josie and Charles and their son Noel who recently was told he was the father of a child (right before mother Stella dies), Lisa a "gifted and bright" young woman who left her job as a graphic designer to follow chef Anton around, and Doctor Hat.
PennyAnne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Typical Maeve Binchy - light, easy to read, engaging romantic fiction. Nothing to stress the mind or cause one to have any deep thoughts - the perfect book for me to read while I was ill.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed Maeve Binchy's charming tales of life in Ireland. She does not sugar coat troubles, nor does she always bring us "happily every after" endings. In this latest novel about life in modern day Dublin, we meet Noel, an alcoholic ne'er do well, who is still living with his parents, who doesn't like his job and who isn't exactly motivated to do anything about it, until he is summoned to the bedside of an old girlfriend who is pregnant and dying of cancer. She tells him he is the father, and she's leaving the baby in his care. And although suddenly Noel has motivation-- a daughter named Frankie--he still needs a lot of help with the totally unfamiliar world of parenthood.With the generous and enabling help of a cousin from America, who has recently arrived in town for an extended stay, he finds a place to live, he enrolls in college, he gets a roommate who trades him part-time child care for free rent, he learns to cook, and most importantly he joins AA and begins a life of sobriety. This is not to say the story is all roses, there are lots of thorns - especially the overbearing child welfare social worker who is determined to find an excuse to take little Frankie away from him. There are dear friends, nosy neighbors, and doting grandparents. It has its scary moments, but it has heart-warming ending. It is a charming story that leaves the reader wanting another chapter.
jovilla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maeve Binchy is a favorite author, writing warm hearted novels of quirky cute characters in Ireland, causing me to want to visit that country. This concerns the residents of a particular street and their activities in that community. Frankie is the baby suddenly arriving in a surprise to the unsuspecting Noel, a sad young alcoholic with little hope for the future. Lisa is a talented young woman who hopelessly loves the charming Anton, but he is only using her when he feels like it, not really loving her in the way she hopes. Emily is a visiting American cousin who quickly settles into the neighborhood, making it all run like a charm. These and several others are the cast of characters in this lovely book. It comes to a tidy close but there are a couple of tiny loose ends that I wish were cleared up.
lycomayflower on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fairly typical Binchy fare--pleasant story of getting on with life peopled by well-observed but never surprising characters. Didn't quite have the charm of some of Binchy's others for me (I was captivated by Circle of Friends, though perhaps I was at just the right age to be so at the time), and while Binchy's skill at weaving together a community story is in evidence here, I sometimes felt jerked from one character to another. I was looking for a day or so worth of pleasant reading, and this suited well enough for that, though it's probably not worth a hard-cover price.
readingrebecca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was hooked from the very first sentence. Maeve Binchy is a consummate storyteller, introducing characters and situations with ease. I won¿t go into the plot. After all there are already 104 reviews of this book. But I will say that the characters are real and the story is wonderful. Plus Ms. Binchy brings in characters from previous books which is great so that we can see what they¿re up to now. The only bad thing about this book is that it came to an end. I easily could have just gone on reading about the lives of Noel and his daughter Frankie, his parents and all the other residents of St. Jarlath¿s Crescent. I especially liked Cousin Emily¿the changes she encouraged in people¿s lives were so much fun to read about and a good lesson about the fine benefits of a positive attitude.
etxgardener on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd recommend this book to anyone who had given up on the world. Maeve Binchy inhabits a cozy Irish world where neighbors help neighbors and people, generally try to do the right thing. Those who are outside this realm usually get their comeuppance, or see the light through some kind of epiphany. None of her books are going to win the Pulitzer or the National Book Award, but this story of a down-at-the-heels alcoholic young man who finds himself the father of a child whom he doesn't remember conceiving, and then finds that he has strengths that he never imagined himself to possess, is uplifting and heartwarming. It's the perfect read for when one finds the world to be completely hopeless.
gbower on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maeve Binchy has done it again!! She writes of the real world with all the trials and tribulations. She does not avoid complications and unhappy situations but always leaves me with the feeling that people and life are good and worthwhile. What a wonderful storyteller!
sleahey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ultimately a heart-warming story of community and family that evolve from need. A terminally ill pregnant woman pleads with Noel, an aimless alcoholic, to take responsibility for her unborn child. The concurrent arrival of his cousin from New York sets a series of events into motion that surround Frankie, the baby girl, with love and devotion and commitment. Of course, it's a bumpy road along the way for most of the people involved, but in Binchy fashion the resolution is satisfying.
clue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another Maeve Binchy novel that brings a few hours of respite from the real world. The story takes place in the neighborhood of St. Jarlath's Crescent. Characters from previous Binchy novels live there as do some new characters. The primary characters are a baby girl whose mother dies during her birth and the baby's the father, who lives with his parents in St. Jarlath's Crescent and learns he's the father days before the baby is born. The story tells all that happens in St. Jarlath's Crescent, including how the "haven't got a clue" boy becomes a true father, during the baby's first year.