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Posts Tagged ‘St. Patrick’s Day’

Sure and don’t you know we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day? I feel that way, too, whenever I read one of Maeve Binchy’s pillowy novels, which are stuffed with all manner of people and stories and all things Irish.

At the center of Binchy’s newest, Minding Frankie, is Noel Lynch, a late-20s, hard-drinking no-hoper who is suddenly informed by a one-night stand that he’s about to become a father. Pragmatic Stella is not only pregnant but also dying of cancer, and she wants to leave the care of the daughter she will never know to Noel.

Reluctance is as natural to Noel as the drink, but he’s convinced by his parents, his American cousin Emily and the other working-class Dubliners of St. Jarlath’s Crescent that he’ll be a grand single dad. So Noel goes to AA, starts taking business classes so he can move up the ladder at work, and finds lots of help when it comes to minding Frankie. The only person who thinks Frankie would be better off in foster care is humorless social worker Moira, who is just waiting for Noel to fall off the wagon so she can whisk the baby away.

Readers of sunch previous Binchy novels as Quentins, Scarlet Feather, and Heart and Soul, will recognize some familiar flawed characters, all with a connection to Frankie, in the large supporting cast. Each has his or her own story — an unrequited love, a terminal illness, a lost job, a new-found son. It can sometimes be a bit confusing. Is it Kathy who is Noel’s platonic roommate Lisa’s sister and who wants a baby of her own, or is that Carla, the daughter of a nurse at St. Brigid’s? Is Dingo a guy and Hooves a dog, or is it the other way around?

Over the course of the year leading up to Frankie’s first birthday, there will be dramas small and large, smiles all around, and a few tears. It’s very Binchy.  Make yourself a cuppa and settle in.

Open Book: I bought a hardcover copy of Maeve Binchy’s Minding Frankie (Knopf Doubleday) so I could share it with my mother (known as Frankie to her grandchildren). We’ve been reading and rereading Binchy’s books since Light a Penny Candle. Wouldn’t miss one.

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