Frankie is born into a very differing and changing world and her start in life is not exactly ideal. Her mother expectedly dies in childbirth and she is left to be brought up by her father. Nothing strange in that, but her father, Noel did not even know of her existence until a matter of weeks before she is born. Trouble is Noel is rather wasting his life and although young seems to have sought solace in drink. Will the parental responsibility be the blessing he needs?
The blessing that Noel does get is Emily, who comes from America to find her Irish roots and ends up changing everyone’s lives by practical matters and guidance or simply by just being there. Emily soon becomes part of the community; Noel’s parents, neighbours, the local doctor and his family and even the social worker Moria shows Emily’s influence is far reaching. Even people who do not really know her are influenced by some small action or conversation.
Moira is probably everything Emily is not. She knows what is right and what is wrong and is determined that the set up for baby Frankie is not how it should be and therefore her policy is best. There is no flexibility and sadly no love for Moira which seems to have very much clouded her views of life. Even when the chance of happiness for her own family, she still feels that she should do the right thing. However the ensemble of people who are helping Frankie unexpectedly help Moira and perhaps she will have a more happy future.
This is certainly a saga novel, and one that drew me straight in and you could start to feel for the characters and all that was happening in their lives. Binchy somehow creates something conventional in storytelling with some unconventional lives. Relationships are tested in all ways, and the acceptance of differing relationships is shown throughout the book.It showed the very raw case of dealing with alcoholism, and how that it was about surviving each day and how easy it would be for something to throw you off the path you have chosen. This is a book which will draw you in and has so much warmth about it, that you do not want it to end. You want to carry on and find out what is happening next. However this will only happen in our own imaginations and then it could take you anywhere. The beauty of reading.
I cannot remember why I picked up this book. I did I think because I have never read any Maeve Binchy. Now I am wondering why. It was like meeting up with an old friend. This is the sort of book you can lose yourself in on a sofa, with a hot cup of tea, a few biccies and the weather lashing away at the window. Alternatively a beach read, to escape in on holiday. It works wherever you are and whatever the weather!
I can see why Maeve Binchy was so loved as an author and why her death was so sad. I know that Minding Frankie was one of her last novels but I will certainly pick up another one I hope soon.