Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quentins by Maeve Binchy

1. Quentins
by Maeve Binchy
fiction, 2002
second reading
first book for Ireland Reading Challenge 2011
Kindle book - 1
finished, 1/4/11

Quentins is a book that tells two stories which come together. One of the stories I love to pieces - the story of the restaurant in Dublin named Quentins. I so enjoyed reading about the owner, the managers, and the patrons. The other story which goes on much longer (or maybe only seems to) is about a woman, Ella Brady who has an affair with a married man. Women in this situation feature quite frequently in Binchy's tales, and they generally drive me crazy just as Ella did in this book. Tom Richardson is a financial consultant, a man full of charm who uses it to his best advantage. I found him a despicable character. So, with hating him, and feeling utter exasperation with Ella, parts of the book irritated me. But still, overall, I would say I liked the book because of the other part. Those twins I love so much in Scarlet Feather make some more shining appearances. How I'd love to really hear them sing 'Carrickfergus.' Others from that book also come back, as well as several from Evening Class. As someone says in Quentins, Dublin isn't a city, it's a village. Connections abound.

I found a few incidents annoying even in the part I enjoyed. Why have characters with nicknames of Pillowcase and Blouse? It just seemed stupid to me. And the idea that Quentins doesn't have an apostrophe because the sign painter didn't put it in, and it was okay with Quentin because he didn't care much for punctuation anyway was ridiculous to me. Again, why even include it? The book would have been just fine with the title of Quentin's. I fully realize these are silly criticisms but there you are.

However, the stories surrounding the restaurant are simply marvelous. Brenda Brennan, the manager had an illness once which left her deaf for a time. Because of this she learned to read lips, and that serves her very well in her job. She 'hears' what the customers are talking about and can solve problems and smooth things over because of this capability. She and her husband Patrick and his brother, the aforementioned 'Blouse' are wonderful, wonderful people. Maeve Binchy's books are full of kind characters who outnumber the shifty ones by far. I had a hard time sleeping the night after Ben died, and I will always thank Maeve Binchy and this book for diverting my mind and lifting my heart a bit.


  1. My experience with Binchy has been a bit hit and miss, too - some of her books I adored (The Copper Beach and Light a Penny Candle) while others were just okay (Whitethorn Woods).

  2. It's been a while since I've read any of Binchy's work, but parts of that sound awfully familiar to me. I'm not sure if I've read it or one with some of the same characters.

  3. For me, the only problem with Maeve Binchy's writings is that she doesn't write ENOUGH books! I'm caught up with her....and impatiently waiting for more.

  4. I haven't read this Binchy book yet. I do want to read SCARLET FEATHER this spring. Maybe this one can come later in the year.

  5. I hope to read this and the other two sometime in the coming year. You've really piqued my interest in Binchy's novels. Thank you, Nan.

  6. So glad you were able to find comfort in Maeve Binchy's stories.

  7. Carrie, I'm thinking of going back to the very first of her books. It has been a really long time since I read them. I plan to read Whitethorn Woods after Nights of Rain and Stars, which will be a reread for me.

    Bermudaonion, I love seeing the same characters come up in other books.

    Rebecca, as I wrote to Carrie, I'm thinking of starting again with the older books once I've read all the newer ones.

    Kay, as you know, I just adore Scarlet Feather, but honestly they all are wonderful in their own ways.

    Les, I expect to be writing about a lot of her books this year. I'm pretty sure she is an author we would both like. :<)

    JoAnn, thank you.

  8. I've read some of these books out of order and got confused. I do like how Maeve Binchy weaves her characters together, but like you I find some things annoying. In one book I read, I think it was based in Greece, everything was described as "little" and it was so repetitive it drove me crazy.

  9. Ann, I've read the 'Greece book' and don't remember that. I plan to reread it, and will pay attention! It is Nights of Rain and Stars - quite a difficult title for me to remember. I did like it, and I'll see what I think on a second reading.

  10. I haven't read a Binchy book for a long time. I think Quentins was the last book I held in my hand but never read. I quite enjoyed them though.
    Thanks for the review.

  11. A Certain Book, I hadn't read any Maeve B. in years, and am very happy to be rereading them now. And I look forward to the three or four I haven't yet read.

  12. Well Crap! I love Maeve Binchy and I was going to pick one of her books when it is my turn to select a book for my book club. I was pretty much set on Quentins and was just looking around on the internet for more reviews on it when I came across your blog. Now I don't know if I should stick with it or pick another one. Was it really that bad?

  13. Bittner, no it wasn't! In the last paragraph I tried to explain why I liked it in spite of my reservations. But my favorite, favorite is Scarlet Feather. You can read my book report on it if you wish here:


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