It’s true. I love reading Maeve Binchy. Skimming her list of past titles, I realized I’ve read almost all of them—and, surprisingly, I can still summon up images and plot points for most. Yes, she’s grown ever more sentimental and formulaic over the years, as she’s tracked Ireland’s rough times, the epic boom at the turn of the century, and the current recession. But Binchy still beguiles me with her collages of romance, ambition, family ties, neighborhood loyalties—and the occasional foe thrown in to create dramatic tension.
Part of the allure, no doubt, is a fascination with my Irish heritage: fiddles, harps, and pipes; legends and lyricism; whiskey, wistfulness, wildness. I’ve been to Ireland once, long ago, and loved it; I dream of visiting again. So Binchy’s stories reinforce those ties, in a lighthearted, warm-hearted way.
And Binchy can craft a story, without aspirations to high art or literary ingenuity. Quite simply, she creates characters and scenes that hook me in. So although I’ve criticized quite a few books in past posts—books that aimed much higher—I’ll offer no criticisms of Minding Frankie. I enjoyed it.