Although Maeve Binchy has written numerous books which take place in Ireland, Minding Frankie is the first I have read, so I was not familiar with any of her interesting cast of characters. Minding Frankie takes place in the close-knit community of St Jarlath’s Crescent. In fact Josie and Charles Lynch had lived at 23 St Jarlath’s Crescent for over 32 years. Despite the fact that they had been saving money for their son Noel’s’s education and had actually hoped that he would study to become a Priest, Noel had absolutely no motivation, had not attended school and was still living at home. He also spent too much time after work at Casey’s Pub and drank far too many beers.
When thirty year old Noel receives a call from Stella, a woman from his past his whole life changes. Unfortunately Stella has a terminal illness and reveals to Noel that she is about to give birth to his baby. Although Noel barely remembers sleeping with Stella, he does not question that he is the father of her baby, after all, why would anyone chose him to be the father of their baby if they had any other choice!
Noel realizes that he has to grow up and be a responsible adult in order to be a good father to Frankie and with the help of all of his friends and family he attempts to do just that. Cousin Emily, a retired teacher, who had just arrived from the United States became Noel’s greatest supporter. Emily seemed to know everything and could do anything, making her just a little too good to be true! Noel’s parents who are busy trying to raise money to erect a statue of St Jarlath, a saint that “if he ever existed, had died fifteen hundred years ago” are only too happy to do their part. Muttie and Lizzie Scarlet, Dr. Declan Caroll and his wife and Lisa one of Noel’s night school classmates all pitch in to help “mind” Frankie. Unfortunately Moire Tierney, the annoying local social worker seems to make it her goal in life to prove that Noel is not a suitable father for baby Frankie. Things do not always run smoothly for Noel and he certainly has his share of bumps in the road.
Minding Frankie is told from the perspective of the different characters and there were many of them. Although, I have to admit that there were times when I started to get confused as to who was who and had to go back and check it out, it was an amusing read. I enjoyed getting to know the charming residents of Jarlath’s Crescent and look forward to reading more from Maeve Binchy.