Summary and book reviews of Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy

Scarlet Feather

By Maeve Binchy

Scarlet Feather
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2001,
    528 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2002,
    560 pages.

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Book Summary

Scarlet Feather is the catering company newly formed by cooking school friends Tom Feather and Cathy Scarlet. They're young and talented, they've made some smart connections, and they've found the perfect premises to make their new business the best in Dublin--but not everyone seems as pleased by the idea of Scarlet Feather as they are.

Cathy's mother-in-law, already disapproving of her son's choice of a wife, thinks that Scarlet Feather is just a hobby and that Cathy should stay at home. Cathy's husband, Neil, a high-living civil rights lawyer pays no mind to anything--except his work. Tom's parents are disappointed he has turned his back on the family building business, and Tom's relationship with his beautiful, ambitious girlfriend, Marcella, begins to unravel as she struggles with career dreams of her own.

With the help of their family and friends, Tom and Cathy start to take Dublin by storm. While some things go according to plan, and their hard work begins to pay off, events occur that no one could have expected: The arrival of a precocious, troublesome twin niece and nephew to Cathy's home. Cathy's sister Marian, long since emigrated to Chicago, returning to Dublin in search of an "authentic" Irish wedding, replete with corned beef, cabbage, and leprechauns. And a troubled relative whose debts grow so great he will use any means necessary to get the money he needs--even if Scarlet Feather fails in the process. Maeve Binchy at her very best, Scarlet Feather is a novel capturing one year in time. From New Year's Eve to New Year's Eve, readers will meet Tom Feather and Cathy Scarlet, their extended families, their many friends, and learn of the heartaches and triumphs, disappointments and joys, loves, losses, and sometimes even miracles, that can happen in time.

New Year's Eve

On the radio show they were asking people what kind of a New Year's Eve did they really want. It was very predictable. Those who were staying at home doing nothing wanted to be out partying, those who were too busy and rushed wanted to go to bed with a cup of tea and be asleep before the festivities began.

Cathy Scarlet smiled grimly as she packed more trays of food into the van. There could hardly be anyone in Ireland who would answer the question by saying that they really and truly wanted to spend the night catering a supper party for a mother-in-law. Now that was the punishment posting tonight, feeding Hannah Mitchell's guests at Oaklands. Why was she doing it then? Partly for practice, and of course it would be a good way to meet potential customers. Jock and Hannah Mitchell knew the kind of people who could afford caterers. But mainly she was doing it because she wanted to prove to Hannah Mitchell that she could. That Cathy, daughter of poor Lizzie Scarlet, ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Another entertaining tale of contemporary Ireland with a big gathering of representative types—the addicted, the lonely, the unhappy—whose lives connect as two chefs start a catering business and cope with crises in work and love.... More a buffet with lots of variety and a few standouts than a thematically distinctive menu, but Binchy still serves up a narrative feast.

Library Journal

This novel (following the very popular Tara Road) has all of Binchy's trademark warmth, making it irresistible to most readers.

Publishers Weekly

By making her principal characters entrepreneurs, she reflects the ways Ireland's growing economic prosperity has altered social mores. Whether her readers are aware of such details, they help this wonderfully engaging book ring true.

Reader Reviews
Curcharel

Great novel, i would read it agian

LisaD

I just finished it last nite ... and was so sorry to see it end ... although i know it is not likely that she will revisit these characters ... i wish it would happen ... so much i still need to know ... the characters were real people for me ... ...   Read More

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