I love having a new Maeve Binchy novel to recommend so close to St. Patrick’s Day. “Minding Frankie” brings back all the beloved characters we’ve gotten to know over the years as we’ve followed them through thick and thin.
As Stella Dixon lays dying in hospital in Ireland, we find that not only is she dying, she’s pregnant and unmarried. She beckons an old boyfriend to her bedside to give him the news that he is the baby’s father. Noel Lynch is the unlikely candidate for fatherhood. Noel lives at home with his parents and has a multitude of problems mostly stemming from his inability to control his alcohol consumption.
Binchy is a master at intertwining characters from past novels and creating entire worlds anew with them. I have been a huge fan of her writing for years. It all began when I read her “Evening Class” many years ago. Not only does she have a way with words, she has a way of story telling that defies time and place.
Characters are all ages. There are young people dealing with love and finance. Issues of health and even dying are touched on valiantly. Even the economy is brought into focus in a way we all can understand.
Emily is a family member who comes to Ireland to visit and ends up becoming a cohesive part of the story. She has quite the ability to bring everyone and everything into perspective.
Moira is the total opposite of Emily, creating havoc and distrust everywhere she goes. You begin to wonder if this one can change. It seems so unlikely.
Frankie is the lovely little baby girl born into this squabble. She arrives to a ready-made family full of unlikely folk who love her unconditionally and hold no malice toward her situation.
Once again, Binchy has created a stellar novel of family and love bringing back characters from the past who we all know and love. She’s brought it all up to date and it is a must read for spring.