Well, 2011 is certainly in full swing, the Christmas tree and lights have been taken down (always a very sad time for me!), it's back to work tomorrow and the first book of the year has been read.
I have not read a Maeve Binchy book before but her latest, Minding Frankie, was a Christmas present from my parents. I started it with my early morning cup of tea a couple of days ago and I pretty much didn't put it down until it was finished.
Binchy's style is certainly suited to holiday reading - a nice light style and pace without being too fluffy I think.
Minding Frankie is about new born baby Frankie and the various friends and family members who pull together to help care for her after the death of her mother on the day that she is born. Frankie's father, Noel, is a recovering alcoholic and as such there is an over zealous social worker, Moira, keeping her eye on his parenting skills just waiting for him to stuff up so that she can whisk Frankie off to foster care. Moira was probably the only major problem I had with this novel. As a social worker myself I am probably a little over sensitive to how social workers are sometimes portrayed in works of fiction but Moira takes the cake for me! She is practically on Noel and Frankie's door every day to do a "check up" visit. I'm not sure how child protection services work in Ireland really but if they offer even 1% of the type of service Moira is offering in this case I'm sure their children at risk will all be safe and sound! I'm certainly not trying to make light of such a serious subject but Moira's professional behaviour was way out of hand and I found myself wanting her to be dis registered quick smart!
Now that my little rant is over I would definitely recommend this book if you were looking for a reasonably light and quick read - there are many and varied characters to follow (even if for the most part they are quite one dimensional) and I think at the heart of the novel is a really nice story about what goes into making up a true family.