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Quentins (2015)

Quentins (2015)
3.86 of 5 Votes: 3
0752849522 (ISBN13: 9780752849522)
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Quentins (2015)
Quentins (2015)

About book: I’ve read other Maeve Binchy books and enjoyed them, so I kept giving this book chances to redeem itself; it never did. The story revolves around Ella Brady, a seemingly intelligent young woman with certain standards and values, who in chapter two starts doing stupid and illogical things. It was incredibly annoying. For example (spoiler alert), she sees nothing wrong with having an affair with a married man (after lambasting her friend for a similar indiscretion) and lying to her parents about it, yet is so honorable that, even after this man absconds with millions of dollars of investors’ money (ruining her father’s career and forcing her parents to move into the little garden house in the backyard so they can rent out their own house), changes his name and flees the country with his wife and children, she refuses to turn into the police the computer (which undoubtedly has all the evidence needed to prove his crimes) he inadvertently left in her apartment, because that’s not what a loyal friend would do. Feeling sorry for her, a filmmaker friend invites her to help him make a documentary. Of course, Ella ends up being the person to fly to New York to represent the project in their quest for a funding grant, and planning the entire film. Come on, this is a woman with a degree in science and limited teaching experience who knows nothing of filmmaking and has spectacularly poor judgment, yet they entrust the future of this endeavor to her? Since the film will be about the lives of the customers that eat at the Dublin restaurant, Quentins, interspersed throughout the book are sections about those folks. Unfortunately, all this does is muddy the waters as you try to remember who’s who and how they fit in. Also, nearly every character that has occurred in other Binchy books is here in some shape or form, and it’s nearly impossible to keep track of this cast of thousands. I found myself flipping back and forth, trying to identify just who this person was again, until I just gave up and skipped over those parts. I found myself skimming over the last three pages of the book because, at this point, I really didn’t care what happened to these people. Really, what this seemed like to me was someone else trying to write a “Maeve Binchy” book, and trying too hard to incorporate every character she’s written about. Like I said before, I usually like this author and I’ll give her another shot, but I can’t recommend this book.

Is it possible to tell the story of a generation and a city through the history of a restaurant? Ella Brady thinks so. She wants to film a documentary abuot Quentins that will capture the spirit of Dublin from the 1970s to the present day. After all the restaurant saw the people of a city become more confident in everything from their lifestyles to the food that they chose to eat. And Quentins has a thousand stories to tell: tales of love, of betrayal, of revenge, of times when it looked ready for success and of times when it seemed as if it must close in failure. Quentins is presided over by the apparently unflappable Patrick & Brenda Brennan, whose efforts have made the place a legend in the life of Dubliners and visitors alike. But even the Brennans have a story and a problem that is hidden from the public gaze. As Ella uncovers more and more of what has gone on at Quentins, she begins to question the wisdom of capturing it all in a documentary. Are there some stories that are too sacred to be told, some secrets that must be kept? By getting to know the people that pass through the doors of Quentins, Ella has finally gotten to know herself.
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To be honest, I can't believe I even finished this book. The plot and sub plots were merely ok. Elle, the protagonist, drove me crazy! She was such a baby! She just whined and cried until she got what she wanted. And for her to think that her "love" was still in love with her was just a sad joke. If he loved her so much why did he up and leave taking every bit of money leaving her penniless? I have decided that I have so many books that if I don't like a book by page150-200 I am giving up on it even though I feel a huge amount of guilt about not following through on things. By the end of this book I was speed reading just to be finished. If a book makes me feel like that then I should have given up on it a long time ago. I have too many good books to waste my time on the bad ones. 2 stars and that is generous!
Hi Lauren, your review made me laugh because I had the same feelings about the same character when I read this book! I do love Maeve Binchy, though--her books are what I read for a guilty pleasure when I'm feeling lazy or tired.
Alison C
In Quentins, by Maeve Binchy, readers are introduced to young Ella Brady, the only child of a staid couple and the apple of their eye. She grows up amidst the friends and neighbours of her section of Dublin, which is also home to the highly-regarded restaurant, Quentins. When Ella grows up and falls in love with a married man, she is only at the beginning of her troubles, which she learns when the married man , a financial adviser, runs off with the life savings of many, many people - including Ella's parents. She subsequently begins working for an aspiring filmmaker, who wants to show the world a changing Ireland through the lens of one business, Quentins itself, and thus becomes involved with all the people there - Brenda and Patrick Brennan, the hostess and chef respectively, Quentin himself, various staff members, Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather, and of course, the ubiquitous Mitchell twins, Maud and Simon.... How the stories of each of these people intertwine and react with each other is the heart of the story, and as always, Maeve Binchy carries it off in her gentle and touching prose. I read this immediately after reading Scarlet Feather, while I was on vacation in California, and I have discovered that Binchy's books are excellent reads when traveling because you can put them down and pick them up again casually, without losing any of the numerous threads with which she weaves her stories. Recommended.
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