Minding Frankie: Book summary and reviews of Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy

Minding Frankie

A Novel

by Maeve Binchy

Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy X
Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2011
    400 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Maeve Binchy is back with 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Binchy straddles improbable and possible in her touching saga, and if your mind can't quite wrap itself around St. Jarlath's Crescent, your heart will have no trouble recognizing the landscape." - Publishers Weekly

"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." - Booklist

"The brief appearances of so many characters from previous works might be annoying, but the stories of [specific characters]...make this novel fresh and appealing. An enjoyable novel about life, love, and second chances." - Library Journal

"As usual, Binchy's supporting characters steal the show...Binchy remains the queen of spiritual comfort, but this time round she's stretched interest thin with ups and downs too many and too mild." - Kirkus Review

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

Maeve still magic
Minding Frankie is the 16th book by popular Irish author, Maeve Binchy. When Noel Lynch, an alcoholic in a dead end job, is told he is the father of Stella Dixon’s baby daughter, Frankie (Frances Stella), it turns out to be a major turning point in his lacklustre life. He makes some big decisions and, with the help of his American cousin Emily, his parents and a multitude of friends, he is determined to raise Frankie to the best of his abilities. His friend from night college, Lisa Kelly, needs to escape from her family home and helping out with Frankie seems a small price to pay for sharing the flat with Noel. Of course, Moira Tierney, the unfriendly social worker, is convinced that it will all end badly and maintains a dogged surveillance on Noel, Lisa and everyone involved in Minding Frankie. In this novel, Binchy illustrates beautifully that saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. While this story can be enjoyed without reading Binchy’s prior novels, fans will be rewarded with appearances (some cameos, some major) of characters from previous novels including Scarlet Feather, Evening Class, Tara Road, Quentins, Nights of Rain and Stars, Heart and Soul and The Whitethorn Woods. This novel has births and deaths, weddings and funerals, long lost sons, major bequests, happiness and heartache. Reading a Maeve Binchy book is like coming home: it feels comfortable and you’re coming back to people you know and love. Binchy must have been close to seventy when she wrote this novel, but her characters and plots have moved with the times: she has lost none of her magic.

Diane S.

Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy
Reading Maeve Binchy is like coming home after a long time away, or drinking a hot toddy after a stressful day, so satisfying and comforting. In Minding Frankie we meet cousin Emily who proves a catalyst for many changes on the Crescent, as well as many characters and places from her other books. Binchy does a wonderful job of making the reader feel as if they are part of the sorrows and joys of this village and the characters lives. She gives true meaning to the phrase "It takes a village" and it is a village I would be honored to live in. I wish this book had been longer, I wasn't quite ready to leave.

Dorothy T.

A joy to read
Maeve Binchy doesn't often write deep literary fiction--Circle of Friends fits that category certainly--and this novel doesn't qualify, but reading her books is always a joy. I never miss a new one. Minding Frankie has the characters and the conflicts Maeve Binchy develops so well, and as always I am left with a desire to see Ireland.

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Author Information

Maeve Binchy Author Biography

maevebinchy.com

Maeve Binchy was born in a small village outside Dublin. She spent her childhood in Dalkey, an experience she draws on today when creating the rural villages usually at the heart of her novels. After receiving her B.A. from University College in Dublin, she began working as a teacher. The experiences she had while teaching at a Jewish school and on vacation in Israel compelled her to find work on a kibbutz. While abroad in Israel, she wrote weekly letters to her father describing life in a country constantly on the brink of war. When Binchy's father sent one of her letters to The Irish Times where it was published and earned her £18, Binchy, who had been making £16 working at the school, thought that she had truly "arrived."
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