In Maeve Binchy's "Minding Frankie," we meet Noel, a young man drifting emptily through life, living at home with his super-religious parents and working in a dead-end job, with no prospects in sight and his only interest that of drinking. Things change when Stella, a woman with whom he had a barely-remembered fling one weekend, summons him to her hospital bed and tells him that 1) she is dying and 2) she is pregnant with his child. A Cesarean section is needed, but that operation will kill her, and Stella therefore wants Noel to assume responsibility for his daughter, Frankie. Although at first reluctant, soon Noel comes around to her point of view, but he is going to need the entire neighbourhood to help him look after Frankie.... "Minding Frankie" brings back many well-known characters from Binchy's oevre, including the twins Maud and Simon, Signora and Aidan, Muttie and Lizzy, Clara and Frank, and tons more, while also introducing new members of the extended "family" such as Lisa, a young woman with unfortunate choices in love, and Moira, the social worker assigned to oversee Frankie's upbringing, who is convinced that the little girl deserves a more stable family than the one she has. As always, I enjoyed the interactions between all of these characters; not a lot happens in this story, which roughly covers Frankie's first year of life, but it's Binchy's warm and thoughtful insights into human nature that make her books so wonderful and those are present in this book no less than in earlier ones. Recommended.