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Minding Frankie Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 1, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 692 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. When a young alcoholic learns he has fathered a child with a dying woman, he must step into the role of father, protector, and provider to his infant daughter, Frankie, in a matter of weeks. Determined to succeed, though totally unprepared for his new responsibilities, Noel gets an essential assist from his visiting American cousin. Exercising her tremendous gifts of organization and insight, Emily cobbles together a neighborhood support system, featuring a few familiar faces from previous Binchy books. As everybody begins to mind Frankie, a suspicious social worker pokes her nose in where it doesn’t belong, attempting to dredge up any dirt she can on Noel and his slightly unorthodox network of babysitters. 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

Review

“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

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Reading-Group Guide to "Minding Frankie"
Enhance your reading group’s discussion of Minding Frankie with these group discussion questions. [PDF]

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; BCE edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307273563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307273567
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (692 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Maeve Binchy is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Nights of Rain and Stars, Quentins, Scarlet Feather, Circle of Friends, and Tara Road, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection. She has written for Gourmet; O, The Oprah Magazine; Modern Maturity; and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. She and her husband, Gordon Snell, live in Dalkey, Ireland, and London.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nothing like waiting out wicked winter weather and a bad cold with the companionship of a good piece of chick lit, especially when it comes from one of the great and gifted Irish storytellers.

Once upon a time I was a regular Maeve Binchy reader, but I'd long ago drifted away--having grown tired of too many plots based around class issues and out-of-wedlock pregnancies and miserable marriages there was no way out of--and I'd moved on to other authors like Colm Toibin, William Trevor, Anabel Davis Goff and Deirdre Madden. But when I was offered an opportunity to get an advance look at the newest Binchy novel, I took it and I'm glad I did. I'd forgotten how gifted Binchy is at creating a cast of characters you quickly come to care about and bringing them and their stories so vividly to life.

While misery, unwed motherhood, unrequited love and alcoholism all figure prominently into this story, they're more than balanced out by the determined efforts and optimism of a can-do American cousin and the arrival of a motherless child. Watching cousin Emily and wee Frankie give a whole neighborhood a new lease on life makes for a very good read and I recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Every single time I pick up a Maeve book, it is like coming home after a long exhausting trip and falling into that comfortable easy chair, with the endless cups of hot tea at your side and all the favorite characters in Dublin hovering around ... if only life can be that comforting!! I read Maeve for the reasons I have stated above and for the fact that she really is a talented writer, who manages to keep the reader's interest in ordinary characters. Ordinary characters with ordinary concerns and issues ... and yet somehow she makes them special and interesting. She writes compellingly of life in Ireland that some day I must go there and see with my own eyes the beautiful land she loves so deeply.

I was so excited to get this advanced copy that I managed to read this within two days ... it helps that I am snowed in as well. I hated to see the end of this book as I didn't want to let go of the characters. I hope Binchy will write another one soon ... especially about that annoying social worker, Moira. I'd like to know what happened to her!! She is probably the most annoying and pathetic character I have yet to read from Binchy's collection. Unable to grasp that a recovering alcoholic can raise a baby and do it so well with the love and support of so many, Moira always expect the worst of people.

A lot of familiar characters have been re-introduced such as Muttie and Lizzie Scarlet, the twins, Noel, the young and dashing doctor who is happily married and his parents; they all play a minor role in this novel but their lives are entwined with Noel, the young father mentioned above. Noel was a drifting loner, bored out of his skull with his life and finding solace in the bottom of his cups.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is something comforting in a Maeve Binchy novel. There are no pyrotechnics or earth-shattering histrionics in MINDING FRANKIE yet it manages to hold and keep one's attention throughout. I think it is Binchy's unparalleled knack for creating characters one truly cares about. Even the most reviled character in this wonderful book (Moira Tierney...the social worker from Hell) is relatable as we come to know her life's circumstances.

You will find yourself rooting for the protagonist at the heart of MINDING FRANKIE. Noel is an ex-alcoholic who is teetering precariously on the precipice of sobriety when he is faced with raising a baby on his own. The cast of characters he surrounds himself with are all supportive and come to his aid when he needs help with Frankie, the baby girl he "inherits." The characters are the real heart of this novel. They are funny, sympathetic, flawed and real people whom we come to know well and identify with. I couldn't wait to crawl into bed each night and escape to the Emerald Isle with all my new "friends."

While we are introduced to new characters in MINDING FRANKIE there are a lot of familiar faces from Binchy's previous works. This is a stand-alone novel, but many of the characters were introduced in other books such as QUENTINS, SCARLET FEATHER and HEART AND SOUL. It is not necessary to read the other books before starting MINDING FRANKIE, but it certainly enhances the reading experience by having a past with them.

The reason I called this book timeless is because if it weren't for the occasional reference to cell phones, the internet and other modern conveniences one would find it diificult to determine if this book takes place in 1950 or 2011. The story is classic and transcends time.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love Maeve Binchy and have for years. She's my reading equivalent of comfort food and I'm not ashamed to admit it. When I need to have a book along on a trip or in a waiting room that I KNOW I'll like, I take one of hers to re-read. ("Firefly Summer" is my favorite.) She's like my favorite sweater and my warmest socks. She's reliable. This review isn't for readers like me who are going to read her latest no matter what the reviews say. This is for new readers who aren't sure if they will enjoy reading about Binchy's Dublin neighborhood.

"Minding Frankie" is full of varied and interesting character-types and each has his or her own private struggle. Binchy has been writing about the people of Ireland for a generation now, and she moves with the times. She is tuned in to the present whether it be modern technology, the economy, generational issues, the changing Catholic Church, etc. she allows her characters, both young and old, to cope with and adjust to the changing times without ever losing the core of what it means to be "Irish".

I'm not going to tell you who Frankie is, I liked finding out myself as the story unfolded. Nor will I say anything about the plot(s); others will.

One of the things her loyal readers love the most about a Binchy novel, is that her characters are so relatable. We can easily see our own human failing and foibles in them, and it somehow makes it easier to forgive ourselves through forgiving them.

Binchy is expert as deftly describing the small dramas of everyday life, and also the larger dramas of illness, alcoholism, death. And always, always she presents the dramas of love. Binchy's characters long for love, find love and lose love just like everyone we know. The emotions are universal.
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