Quentins, by Maeve Binchy

Ella Brady is recovering from a failed love affair and becomes involved in a film production which aims to document the recent changes in Dublin by focusing on stories based around Quentins restaurant. As well as Ella's life, the book is concerned with the present day staff and customers at Quentins, and interweaves their stories with vignettes from the past.

The book shares a fair number of characters with Evening Class, and I would guess also from other Binchy novels. It was very like Evening Class - rather like reading the next book in a series, and I felt a bit let down by this, although if the novels had been subtitled "part x of the Dublin chronicles" I wouldn't have minded so much. I think I read the books in the correct order: certainly this book seems mostly to be set after Evening Class, and we find out how things turned out for Signora, but I don't think it would matter too much.

Some of the little stories about past customers were very short indeed, and had no relevance to the story outside themselves. You could imagine Binchy wrote them just as exercises (maybe she had them hanging around and just needed a book to include them in) but it was impressive how much detail she was able to get into them.

Like Evening Class, Binchy is able to write movingly about her characters; like Evening Class I was moved, and like Evening Class, pretty much everything ends up happily.

Another enjoyable read.

Completed : 26-Jul-2006 (audiobook, read by Kate Binchy)

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