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VINE VOICEon 29 September 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A new Maeve Binchy is always enough to get me excited and this one does not disappoint. In true Binchy style we are gradually introduced to our cast, a diverse group with a range of problems; amongst many, the young mother on borrowed time (a heartbreaking little story of her own there), the young father and his attempts to turn his life around and Moira, who is waiting on the sidelines for her chance to play a part. And in the centre of it all, young Frankie, whose well-being depends on them all.

As with most of Binchy's books, there are the delightful little cameos by stars of previous stories, Brenda Brennan and, my own favourites, Aiden and Nora Dunne (they did get married then, possibly this thrilled me more than anything!) which make the book feel like an extension of all that has gone before. Everyone has a story, and everything falls into place when you realise what that is.

It's a delightful read, another one that I couldn't put down and had to read from cover to cover in one hit. That's always the sign of a good book. Now I must twiddle my thumbs till the next one.
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on 3 October 2010
Having always been a Binchy fan, I was somewhat bored with her last two books.. this new one in a league of it own, well written, fantastic range of characters and lots of laughter and tears. The book centres around Baby Frankies arrival into the world and the calamity and joy caused by her arrival. A tragic Fairytale in parts, but overall very uplifting and sooo well put together... I read this in two days, could not put it down!!
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VINE VOICEon 28 September 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is Maeve Binchy really back on form. I have felt that her more recent books have been painfully formulaic, thin on content and somehow written as if the author was going through the motions. This book though felt like it was written with passion and feeling. I loved it. I loved the characters. I found it hard to put down.

Now it is certainly true that you could find things to criticise. This is a story of people, many of them quite damaged, rising above themselves. Becoming more than perhaps their stories condemned them to be. Now we do know this happens plenty in real life. It is however fairly unlikely that it could happen to so many people in one small area. This isn't "gritty realism". What it IS, is a great story and an inspiring one. Gritty realism surrounds us in real life and is perfectly valid as a novel form. But for me, spinning a wonderful story and feeling good about the best in people is just as valid. Sometimes real life just needs a break! So whether you enjoy this novel may depend on your feelings about the kind of story you like to read. But if you want to suspend reality, get completely absorbed and feel cheered and uplifted, this book should work for you.

For years Maeve Binchy was *the* writer for Irish "people stories". In recent years I would argue that crown has passed to Marion Keyes. With this book, Maeve Binchy steps right back up again. I feel sure that if you enjoy, or have enjoyed, either writer you will gain a great deal of pleasure from this novel.

Heartily recommended!
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on 28 November 2010
Minding Frankie is my favourite Maeve Binchy book so far. All of the characters are at worst sympathetic, and most are extremely likeable. There is sufficient dramatic tension to have made it hard to put the book down, but I never felt that endlessly suspended feeling that I've been finding too often lately. I found one character (Emily) a wee bit unbelievable. She seems to be there solely to catalyze what happens to everyone else, but, she's not intrusive enough to interfere with the other characters more fully developed selves. I would strongly recommend this book to Maeve Binchy fans and to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction. Simply delightful.
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on 15 January 2011
As a Maeve Binchy fan,I have devoured all her books and I agree Minding Frankie sees her back on top form. I feel there is little I can add to the positive reviews but maybe if you haven't read Heart and Soul, try and read it first so that it refreshes your knowledge of the characters who reappear. Although Minding Frankie is a stand alone book, I found myself trying to remember the details of the various characters such as Declan, Muttie and the twins. I was devastated when Maeve announced a few years ago that she was retiring as I would no longer have a big, fat book to devour on autumn nights. Glad she came back! Now for the next one...
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on 17 October 2010
The only bad thing about this book was that it ended. I would have wanted it to go on and on and on ...

In "Minding Frankie" Maeve Binchy takes us to the Dublin middle class street St Jarlath's Crescent and the people who live there. It's a close knit community, getting even more so as Emily Lynch is visiting from New York in order to find her roots in the country where her father grew up. Emily is a doer. A vibrant, strong, energetic person who sees opportunity and possibilities in everything and everyone. From the first day she sets foot on Irish soil, things start to happen.

Her aunt and uncle Josie and Charles Lynch not only solve their redundancy trouble but find better opportunities and new happiness. Their son Noel, an alcoholic and loser, suddenly gets to know he is the father of little newborn Frankie, who literally saves him and transforms his life. Talentful designer Lisa leaves her safe job and heads for uncertainty, obsessed with charming chef Anton. Lonely social worker Moira scares people off with her negative attitude, always searhing for something to put her finger on. And then there is happy elderly couple Lizzie and Muttie, their dog Hooves and their step children Maud and Simon, about to experience unexpected loss and grief. We follow them all struggling in sorting out their lives.

I don't know of any other author today who can measure up to Maeve Binchy as a storyteller. With this book she had me spellbound, reading all night until I fell asleep in the morning with the book in my hands.

It's difficult to find something else to read after a visit into Maeve Binchy's magical world. I tend to say that most people in the world are not very nice, but Binchy manages to convince me differently. I hope and prey she has still more to convey to us with her magic pen.

Thank you, Maeve. And to the readers, if you have not already, buy this book and loose yourself in the adventures, struggles and hopes of the community of St Jarlath's Crescent. A book not to be missed!!
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on 24 April 2011
Having found some of Maeve's recent books a bit boring, I hadn't read any for a while. I received this as a present and read it on holiday and I loved it! Heart warming, sad and funny, I really enjoyed it and couldn't put it down. Maeve's is back to her best!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The warm cosy glow from the lighted windows of the Crescent pictured on the cover of 'Minding Frankie' makes an enticing invitation - here we have a very modern, uplifting fairy tale. During the first year of her life, innocent baby Frankie finds herself the catalyst for change; launched as she is into the centre of a motley group of Irish friends, lovers, neighbours, relations, Associates, employers, officials and dogs with personalities; some of which I remember are happily drawn from previous Maeve Binchy stories. I have never visited Ireland in person however MB has regularly taken me there and made me welcome. I thank her for that.

Highs and lows abound; the daily life of this colourful collection of Maeve Binchy folk, is delightfully enthralling. You are in from the off, caught up in the dramas, plans and excitements. In order to enjoy this all you only need to have a lively interest in your fellow man and a warm heart. It's an easy read, bouncing through the chapters you will find yourself smiling, laughing, frowning and sighing in equal measure. Sheer reading pleasure and satisfaction.

My favourite was Emily; she spreads happiness, solutions, comfort and good sense seamlessly through the lives of her new friends and rediscovered relations. How marvellous to be like her, what a role model. However it is Noel who takes centre stage. When we first meet him he is not in a good way at all, this is to be a year of major life changes for him indeed. As we read 'There is always some turning point for a man. What do you think was yours?'...'Becoming a Father' Noel had said without having to stop and think for a second....

Another enchanting glimpse into the lives of ordinary Irish souls who become as deeply real as your own people, some more solid than others perhaps, as one particular chef turns out to be as shallow as a puddle!
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on 20 November 2010
Firstly, I've always enjoyed Maeve Binchy.

But I found this book really predictable and quite dull. The style of writing was very lazy and even bringing back old characters smacked of a lack of imagination.

It's not a bad book, just not up to her normal high standards.
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VINE VOICEon 29 November 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I haven't read any of Maeve Binchy's books before, but she is well known as an author so I thought I would try this book out.

I liked the style of writing which was easy and bouncy. The story jogged along nicely with believeable characters and an amusing story line.

I enjoyed this book but didn't find it a completely compelling read.
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