by Maeve Binchy
Category: Fiction / General
0 pages; ISBN: 0525946829
Rating: 7/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, columnist and reviewer for MyShelf.Com and award-winning author of “This is the Place” and “Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered”
Maeve Binchy magically weaves together the stories of not only several generations but what seems like the whole of Dublin.
The stories in “Quentins” are entwined around the history of a lovely Irish restaurant from which the book takes its title. Its proprietress reads lips. She is rather like an all-seeing stage-manager in “Our Town” excepting that her life is intricately plaited with those of her customers and relatives. Ella Brady is young and so impressionable she lets her hormones make decisions about love and life just as many of us have. She falls for a loveable cad. She has a gaggle of friends and they have loves (or not). Throw in the unlikely story of Quentin who gave his name but little else to the restaurant that he owns and a wealthy New Yorker who also happens to be Irish and, er, well, you get the idea.
My advice is to forget trying to make all the fine connections and just go along for the ride. Maeve Binchy is a superlative plotter who knows how to braid, knit and lace and how to write characters as well. This bunch of mad Irish men and women are well worth following. Pretend you are in a restaurant—much like Quentins—and are watching the people at the other tables and those passing by outside your choice table near a window. You’d be entertained, right?
“Quentins” is the same way. It’s a little like eating a holiday dinner peopled by a huge, talkative Irish family. It’s not necessary to get every link, every association, when you’re having so much fun.
(Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the awards-winning author of “This is the Place” and
“Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered.” She is also a columnist for the Pasadena Star News
and a freelance writer. Learn more at