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Scarlet Feather [Kindle Edition]

Maeve Binchy
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Amazon

"Whatever made us think that a catering business had anything to do with producing food?" asks the exasperated heroine of Maeve Binchy's Scarlet Feather. Cathy Scarlet and her partner Tom Feather had wanted to open their own catering firm ever since they attended college together. When the perfect location finally becomes available at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, they jump straight into renovations, ignoring the owner's mysterious eagerness to sell. But as they soon learn, chasing a dream demands far more than just cream puffs and canapés. In the months that follow, Tom and Cathy weather the ups and downs of founding a small business, soothe many a client's fragile ego, plan and pull off a fairy-tale wedding, minister to two of the most appealingly waifish children this side of Dickens, and generally work themselves to the bone--all the while producing some of the most exquisite food Dublin has ever seen.

Binchy is a master spinner of tales, the kind of storyteller who captures the rich tapestry of relationships at work in even the most ordinary of lives. Tom and Cathy come surrounded by a cast of characters as skillfully drawn as themselves: Neil, Cathy's activist-lawyer-husband, who's so busy worrying about the world's problems that he sometimes forgets to worry about his own; beautiful Marcella, Tom's girlfriend, who wants to be a top model more than anything else; and most endearingly of all, Maud and Simon, Neil's neglected 8-year-old cousins, who prove equally talented at wreaking havoc and asking awkward questions. Stir in a full complement of clients, family, friends, and enemies, and you have the makings of a bestseller that's very busy and very Binchy. Tom and Cathy's work, after all, is not so different from that of the novelist herself. Like writers, they stage-manage some of the most important events in people's lives, from weddings and funerals to romances and reunions. Before the year is out, Tom, Cathy, Neil, and Marcella will find themselves changed forever--and Binchy fans will have fallen in love with yet another of her fully realized worlds. --Chloe Byrne

From Publishers Weekly

Bestselling author Binchy (Tara Road, etc.) again explores the depths of family relationships in an 11th warm, involving drama. Set in contemporary Ireland over a period of one year, the smartly paced tale focuses on Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather, cooking school chums who achieve their dream of opening a posh catering business, Scarlet Feather, in Dublin. Professionally, they're off to a good start; personally, their lives are falling apart. Cathy, whose out-of-work father plays the races while her mother toils as a housemaid, faces the consequences of having married Neil Mitchell, prized son of an upper-class family who employed Cathy's mother for years. Neil, a lawyer who champions worthy causes, is unconcerned about the tension between his wife and his snooty mother, and Cathy and Neil find themselves leading busy, separate lives. Tom has a live-in girlfriend whom he would love to marry, but Marcella, a manicurist in a classy store, yearns to succeed as a model before making any commitments. A charming cast of secondary characters includes Neil's cousins, Simon and Maud, two abandoned, nine-year-old twins who, in a surprising turn of events, come to live with Cathy's parents. The children's deadpan, exceedingly serious outlook on life is both heartbreaking and hilarious. One of Binchy's strengths is her subtle depiction of gradual changes in Irish society. By making her principal characters entrepreneurs, she reflects the ways Ireland's growing economic prosperity has altered social mores. Whether her readers are aware of such details, they help this wonderfully engaging book ring true. (Mar. 5).Forecast: Binchy's gift for creating a wide range of characters whose foibles and challenges make them lovable and real, coupled with her theme that genuine love can transform lives, add up to another crowd-pleaser. With major ad/promo, plus an author tour, this one is a lock for the charts.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 899 KB
  • Print Length: 566 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0451203771
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (March 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OCXIYY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not paying attention. Aug. 14 2002
By amanda
Format:Paperback
grizelda84 from Omro, WI USA wrote
"Things that had been talked about so much throughout the book just went away without a wrap up. For example, what was the tragedy that befell the first couple who had a business in the premises that eventually became Scarlet Feather? Other mysteries were revealed, so why not that one? I felt left hanging a bit."
Obviously you weren't reading closely enough - their son hanged himself in the premises. It was only talked about briefly because it wasn't really relevant to the Cathy/Tom catering plot.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It ended too soon May 30 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was so into this book that my husband was getting annoyed! The characters were so human, so well fleshed out, and the dialogue was so natural. When I was nearing the end I just had to see how it all sorted out, so I stayed up until midnight to finish it. But I must say, I was dissapointed with how it ended. Things that had been talked about so much throughout the book just went away without a wrap up. For example, what was the tragedy that befell the first couple who had a business in the premises that eventually became Scarlet Feather? Other mysteries were revealed, so why not that one? I felt left hanging a bit. The way they just pulled into the drive and had a curt discussion and then the book was over just left me feeling cheated. Hannah Mitchell, who weighed heavily in the begining of the book, just disappeared. Did the business make it? Cathy was so bold, telling off the twins' father when he deserved it, so why didn't she point out that Sara was neglecting her duty to the twins in order to galavant after Neil. After all, she was being paid to supervise the twins and yet they were rarely on her mind. I love Maeve Binchy and have read five or six of her books now, and this is the only one that left me hanging to the point I thought pages were missing from the end of my book! I will continue to read her, though, and just bought one for my mother.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Always worthwhile! May 5 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
By this time, I have read most of Ms.Binchey's books, and I have yet to be disappointed with any of them. I have just completed Scarlet Feather, and I came away from this book totally in awe of the author's vast knowledge of the food and catering business. Miss Binchy can go into such great detail without boring the reader, and in all her books, Binchy certainly does not gloss over any of her subject matter. With her sense of psychology, socio-econoomics, she is able to bring depth into her well developed characters. However, I was disappointed in the way Cathy turned out in the end.
Cathy was a very vibrant person throughout the novel, who was a very independent person totally determined to succeed in her profession. Yes, Ms.Scarlet was up against the odds of a social climbing mother-in-law who always subtly hinted that she was not good enough for her son Neil. Cathy's mother, Lizzie, a good character, but still of the mentality that you do not or should not do anything displease your man. Neil, the husband of Cathy, was a decent person, truly dedicated in his cause in his law field, but he wanted Cathy to foresake her business for his advancement, because, as he expressed it to Cathy, the food business is not as important as the cause of the underdog. Neil's position served a major cause; but Cathy's ambition was to meet the demands of people in the modern day Dublin, the food catering business. Cathy fought the fight to win Neil from the opposition of the matriarch, Hannah Mitchell, and she just let him go too easily and too quickly in the end. As determined as Cathy was in keeping her business with Tom going, and becoming stronger, she too should have won her point with Neil that her cause was not only important to her, but to the demands of the people whom she served.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I found it hard to get into April 15 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Maeve Binchy novel I have read. I was desperate for something to read and her name is always mentioned so I thought I would give it a try (I'm a big fan of early Danielle Steel and Cathy Kelly).
I found this book really difficult to get into ... so many characters and it continually jumped around and I was getting confused as to who was related to who and what their role in the story was. But I perserved (as I'm the sort of person that always has to read something to get to sleep at night and it's the only book I had at the time) and I finally finished it. It all sort of came together in the end and I found myself quite involved in the story by the last couple of chapters.
I'm going to try another of her books (Evening Class ... I hope I've picked a good one) and see how it goes .. I hope this one is an "easier" read as when I go to bed - I just want an enjoyable book and not have to worry about which character is which and who is related to who.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down. March 24 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Another great novel by Maeve Binchy. I just completed this book and couldn't get a thing done till I finished the last 250 pages. This book is about the lives and families of Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather. They are working in a catering business, out of their homes. But they are looking for the perfect place to start their business. And on New Year's Eve, after Tom leaves a party where he doesn't feel he belongs, he finds the perfect place. That starts the book in motion. And it doesn't stop for many pages later. It talks about the relationship between Cathy and her husband, who is too involved in his career to really care what Cathy is trying to do. Will this marriage last? Then there is Cathy's family, her mother and father who live on the other side of the tracks. Her father who has a gambling problem, her mother who used to be the maid for her in-laws. Then there is her Aunt Geraldine who is single and very interested in the married men in town.
The best part of the story is of Cathy's cousin's by marriage, Maud and Simon. Two little nine year old's who create
havoc on everyone's lives. Their own family doesn't want them, so they become Cathy's responsibility. She asks her parents for help with them, and they end up falling in love with them.
There are the stories of the many catering jobs, and the antics that they do to make the job succeed. The many struggles, even after they think their business will go down the tubes. The biggest stress is Cathy's sister's wedding. There are many changes along the way in trying to create the perfect wedding for her sister, who now lives in America, who wants an "Irish wedding". And will it go off without a hitch in between all the other jobs they have, and trying to get their business back on it's feet?
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read
Published 1 month ago by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Always a good read by Maeve Binchy
Published 4 months ago by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be bought along with "Quentin's"
This is one of my favourite books, along with "Quentin's". This is probably the third time I've bought it over the years. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Book damage.
This book is one of my favorites from Maeve, but upon arrival I found a long, deep scratch along the spine of the book. It looks to be from an exacto knife. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Kelly Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars Talent that may go unappreciated due to lengthy narrative
This story is a month by month chronicle of two struggling caterers in Dublin and the kinks of their personal lives. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2012 by Cee Ess
5.0 out of 5 stars Scarlett Feather
Easy going but definitely my favorite from this author. One of my favorite book of all time. I would recommend it to everybody any ages.
Published on Dec 2 2012 by Josee Deschenes
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Gentle Slice of Irish Life
"Scarlet Feather," by Maeve Binchy, tells the story of Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather, a catering duo in Dublin who are attempting to create a business in which they cater home... Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2012 by Alison S. Coad
5.0 out of 5 stars Scarlett Feather
I absolutely loved this book. I love the way Maeve Binchy weaves a story and I found myself not wanting to put the book down because I couldn't wait to find out what was going on... Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2009 by Sandi Norman
4.0 out of 5 stars A book of struggles
The title, "Scarlet Feather", makes you want to read this book just to find out how the title originated. Read more
Published on July 31 2002 by sskwert
5.0 out of 5 stars Scarlet Feather
I really loved this story. I've read all of Ms. Binchy's novels and I found this one to be extra endearing through the characters of Maud, Simon, Lizzie and Muttie. Read more
Published on May 27 2002
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