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Minding Frankie - Maeve Binchy

Paperback Published: 1st January 2001
ISBN: 9781409117902
Number Of Pages: 465

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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.

About the Author

Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined The Irish Times. Her first novel, Light a Penny Candle, was published in 1982, and she went on to write more than twenty books, all of them best sellers. Several have been adapted for film and television, most notably Circle of Friends and Tara Road, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for thirty-five years, and died in 2012 at the age of seventy-two.

Industry Reviews

“Joyful, quintessential Binchy.” - O, The Oprah Magazine

“All across America, Maeve Binchy fans will be kicking off their shoes, making a nice cup of tea, and curling up on the couch as they re-enter Binchy’s cozy world.” - The Seattle Times

“Binchy’s worldview is a large, benevolent one, and the reader is happier for it. . . . Bless her big Irish heart.” - Minneapolis Star Tribune

“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.” - Newark Star-Ledger

“A comforting experience. . . . Warmhearted.” - The Denver Post

“In Minding Frankie Binchy proves again why she’s the master of the intelligent comfort novel.” - The Plain Dealer

“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.” - BookPage

“Solid, reliable, and comforting in its familiarity, delivering to Binchy fans what they have come to expect from her novels. . . . A reminder of the author’s savvy ability to deliver what her loyal following has come to expect.” - The Irish Times

“Absorbing. . . . Teems with colorful characters whose concerns and connections are depicted with heart and humor. . . . New readers of Binchy will succumb to the appeal of the heartwarming tradition longtime fans love to love.” - The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, VA)

“All across America, Maeve Binchy fans will be kicking off their shoes, making a nice cup of tea, and curling up on the couch as they re-enter Binchy’s cozy world. The Irish author returns here to a charming Dublin milieu of favorite characters from past novels, with some important new ones.” - The Seattle Times

Chapter One

Katie Finglas was coming to the end of a tiring day in the salon. Anything bad that could happen had happened. A woman had not told them about an allergy and had come out with lumps and a rash on her forehead. A bride’s mother had thrown a tantrum and said that she looked like a laughingstock. A man who had wanted streaks of blond in his hair became apoplectic when, halfway through the process, he had inquired what they would cost. Katie’s husband, Garry, had placed both his hands innocently on the shoulders of a sixty-year-old female client, who had then told him that she was going to sue him for sexual harassment and assault.

Katie looked now at the man standing opposite her, a big priest with sandy hair mixed with gray.

“You’re Katie Finglas and I gather you run this establishment,” the priest said, looking around the innocent salon nervously as if it were a high-class brothel.

“That’s right, Father,” Katie said with a sigh. What could be happening now?

“It’s just that I was talking to some of the girls who work here, down at the center on the quays, you know, and they were telling me . . .”

Katie felt very tired. She employed a couple of high school dropouts: she paid them properly, trained them. What could they have been complaining about to a priest?

“Yes, Father, what exactly is the problem?” she asked.

“Well, it is a bit of a problem. I thought I should come to you directly, as it were.” He seemed a little awkward.

“Very right, Father,” Katie said. “So tell me what it is.”

“It’s this woman, Stella Dixon. She’s in hospital, you see . . .”

“Hospital?” Katie’s head reeled. What could this involve? Someone who had inhaled the peroxide?

“I’m sorry to hear that.” She tried for a level voice.

“Yes, but she wants a hairdo.”

“You mean she trusts us again?” Sometimes life was extraordinary.

“No, I don’t think she was ever here before. . . .” He looked bewildered.

“And your interest in all this, Father?”

“I am Brian Flynn and I am acting chaplain at St. Brigid’s Hospital at the moment, while the real chaplain is in Rome on a pilgrimage. Apart from being asked to bring in cigarettes and drink for the patients, this is the only serious request I’ve had.”

“You want me to go and do someone’s hair in hospital?”

“She’s seriously ill. She’s dying. I thought she needed a senior person to talk to. Not, of course, that you look very senior. You’re only a girl yourself,” the priest said.

“God, weren’t you a sad loss to the women of Ireland when you went for the priesthood,” Katie said. “Give me her details and I’ll bring my magic bag of tricks in to see her.”

“Thank you so much. I have it all written out here.” Father Flynn handed her a note.

A middle-aged woman approached the desk. She had glasses on the tip of her nose and an anxious expression.

“I gather you teach people the tricks of hairdressing,” she said.

“Yes, or more the art of hairdressing, as we like to call it,” Katie said.

“I have a cousin coming home from America for a few weeks. She mentioned that in America there are places where you could get your hair done for near to nothing cost if you were letting people practice on you.”

“Well, we do have a students’ night on Tuesdays; people bring in their own towels and we give them a style. They usually contribute five euros to a charity.”

“Tonight is Tuesday!” the woman cried triumphantly.

“So it is,” Katie said through gritted teeth.

“So, could I book myself in? I’m Josie Lynch.”

“Great, Mrs. Lynch—see you after seven o’clock,” Katie said, writing down the name. Her eyes met the priest’s. There was sympathy and understanding there.

It wasn’t all champagne and glitter running your own hairdressing salon.

ISBN: 9781409117902
ISBN-10: 1409117901
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 465
Published: 1st January 2001
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 17.7 x 11.1  x 3.2

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