(Image from Goodreads)
Minding Frankie is the latest book from prolific Irish author Maeve Binchy. In this book, she brings back favourite characters (such as Father Brian, Declan, Fiona and Clara from Heart and Soul and Muttie, Lizzie and the twins), combining them with other new residents of St Jarlath’s Crescent.
Noel is a drifting alcoholic with a dead-end job. Lisa lives in a loveless home. Stella is about to die, with a baby on the way. Stella tells Noel he is the father, and the whole job of minding Frankie begins. Emily, Noel’s American cousin, is the backbone of the whole street, organising everything. Moira is the social worker, determined to catch Noel out for neglecting Frankie.
It’s unusual to have ‘baddies’ in Binchy books, but both Moira and Anton (Lisa’s chef boyfriend) are only partly redeemed in this book. Still, good triumphs over evil. The plot focuses around the characters and their lives, linking them to Frankie. The twist at the end was rather hastily resolved I thought, but I couldn’t really think of any other way to fix it in a Binchy-like way.
It was great to have some familiar characters back, some playing a larger role (I won’t spoil the drama) but if you’re contemplating this as your first Binchy, don’t be put off as it is all succinctly explained.
A pleasant, warm read.
8 out of 10.