9780307475497

MINDING FRANKIE

Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy is back with a tale of joy, heartbreak and hope, about a motherless girl collectively raised by a close-knit Dublin community.

When Noel learns that his terminally ill former flame is pregnant with his child, he agrees to take guardianship of the baby girl once she’s born.

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Maeve Binchy is back with a tale of joy, heartbreak and hope, about a motherless girl collectively raised by a close-knit Dublin community.

When Noel learns that his terminally ill former flame is pregnant with his child, he agrees to take guardianship of the baby girl once she’s born. But as a single father battling demons of his own, Noel can’t do it alone.

Fortunately, he has a competent, caring network of friends, family and neighbors: Lisa, his unlucky-in-love classmate, who moves in with him to help him care for little Frankie around the clock; his American cousin, Emily, always there with a pep talk; the newly retired Dr. Hat, with more time on his hands than he knows what to do with; Dr. Declan and Fiona and their baby son, Frankie’s first friend; and many eager babysitters, including old friends Signora and Aidan and Frankie’s doting grandparents, Josie and Charles.

But not everyone is pleased with the unconventional arrangement, especially a nosy social worker, Moira, who is convinced that Frankie would be better off in a foster home. Now it’s up to Noel to persuade her that everyone in town has something special to offer when it comes to minding Frankie.

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Paperback

Price: $7.99

ISBN: 9780307475497

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About Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy is the author of Nights of Rain and Stars, Scarlet Feather, Quentins, Light a Penny Candle, Circle of Friends, and Tara Road (An Oprah Book Club Selection) and many other bestselling books. Maeve has now retired as a journalist and columnist for the Irish Times and lives in Dalkey, Ireland and London with her husband, writer Gordon Snell. She is a welcome visitor to the U.S. and an honorary citizen of Chicago where she was celebrated by having her own float in their St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Praise

“One of Binchy’s best works. She harmoniously handles a diverse group of characters, the good deeds that characterize life in Ireland are believable, and the ending is sweet. One hopes to find Frankie in one of Binchy’s future novels.”
Susan Rogers, Newark Star-Ledger

“Binchy’s world view is a large, benevolent one, and the reader is happier for it . . . bless her big Irish heart.”Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Maeve Binchy has done it again [with] yet another warm tale of individual growth and human community, [in which] she assembles a large cast of characters and deploys them with her characteristic playfulness . . . Binchy specializes in exploring human foibles without spelling them out in tiresome detail . . . There’s a good chance that many readers, like this one, will consider Minding Frankie one of Binchy’s best novels yet.”
Maude McDaniel, BookPage

“Joyful, quintessential Binchy.”
Karen Holt, O, The Oprah Magazine

Discussion Questions

Have you read any of Maeve Binchy’s other novels? How does this one compare? 

If you’ve read other Binchy books, which characters did you recognize? Are there any you’d like to see in a future novel? 

There are many parents in the book. Who would you say does the best job, and why? 

There are a number of recent retirees, voluntary and otherwise, who become an important part of Frankie’s life. What kind of roles do her grandparents, Josie and Charles, take on? What about Dr. Hat and Muttie? More generally, what do the very young and the very mature have to offer each other?  Which generation do you think needs the other more?   

“Emily told herself that she must not try to change the world. . . . But there were some irresistible forces that could never be fought with logic and practicality. Emily Lynch knew this for certain.” What “irresistible forces” does she mean? How does she fight them? 

It’s clear what Noel gets from his relationship with Emily, but what does she get? How does the effect of alcoholism bond them? 

Discuss Lisa’s relationship with Anton. Why is she so oblivious to his less attractive qualities? What is her turning point? 

Why is Moira so obsessed with Frankie’s fate? Is it just fear, or is there something more going on? 

How does Moira define “family”? How does Emily? 

Lisa says to Moira, “I have a lot of worries and considerations in my life, but minding Frankie sort of grounds me. It gives it all some purpose, if you know what I mean.” Among Frankie’s caretakers, who else might say this? 

Discuss the ethics of Moira’s dealings with Eddie Kennedy. Should she have told him about her father? 

Anton says to Lisa, “I’m not the villain here, you know,” and she responds, “I know. That’s why I’m angry. I got it so wrong . . . ” What does she mean? 

What did you think of Di Kelly’s reason for staying with her husband? What would you have done? 

What is your opinion of Noel’s decision to get a DNA test? How would you have handled the results he received? 

Many of the characters go through major upheavals in their lives. Who responds best, and why? Whose attitude changes the most? 

What did you think of Stella’s letter to Frankie? What did we learn from it?