Monday, November 28, 2011

Minding Frankie

by Maeve Binchy
May 28 - June 26, 2011

Minding FrankieI've read every single book Maeve Binchy has ever written. Her prose is so silky and charming that you actually start to hear the Irish accent in your head as you read. Quite a few years ago (I don't really remember how many), it was announced that Binchy was retiring. She had written her last book. I was sad. But imagine my delight to find that it was somehow untrue....or maybe she changed her mind...because she has written several books since. Each title fails to disappoint and I'm always able to devour them quickly. Unfortunately for Minding Frankie, this was not the case.

All of Binchy's past books have sweet, wholesome undertones that I find quite welcoming after a heavier read. In reading other reviews I found the perfect description of how her books make me feel: "Reading a Maeve Binchy novel is like settling in for a cozy visit with an old friend." But this one took on a little darker tone than I would have liked, and I actually question why the sudden change from my beloved author. As I read along I couldn't help but have a sense of dread and worry for the characters; Frankie and her father, Noel, in particular.

Noel is an alcoholic who suddenly learns that he is about to be a father. The mother of his child is dying, and has asked him to raise Frankie (already not a comfy, familiar situation like Binchy's other titles). When Frankie is born, Noel does his very best to make a proper home for his daughter. He enlists the help of an American cousin and the kind people in his neighborhood. That's one thing I do love about Maeve's books – the recurring characters. While Noel has vowed to quit the drink and be a proper father, a social worker continues to interfere and waits impatiently for him to fail. Of course everything works out for the best in the end...true fans of Binchy wouldn't have it any other way, but getting there was definitely not a fun, relaxing journey. I'm just not sure I can recommend this one.

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