by Maeve Binchy

Hardcover, 2002



While filming a documentary about Quentins, a famed Dublin restaurant, Ella Brady explores the changing face of the city from the 1970s to the present day as she captures the stories of the people who have made Quentins a center of their lives.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Carmenere
Quentins is obviously the third in a series of novels written by Maeve Binchy. Although the other stories are referenced in this book it is not necessary to have read them in order to understand the connections. In this respect Ms. Binchy does an admirable job. However, there is little else to her writing style that makes me enthusiastic to read the other books, of which I own three.
The pace of the story flows so quickly, as if watching a movie in fast forward mode. Ella meets Don at a party – poof, they’re in bed – poof, they’re in love – poof, there are problems – poof, Ella finds a diversion – poof, Ella and her friends will make a documentary of Quentins, the go to restaurant which will suit any occasion – poof…..no wait – the flow of the story comes to a screeching halt as the reader reads the stories of several life changing events which took place at Quentins and made it such a special place. That done, poof, Ella’s story continues in the same fast paced fashion till all is happily rectified at the novels conclusion.
No sweetener required in my coffee this morning, I have already had way too much sugar.
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LibraryThing member drebbles
Ella Brady has a nice, if quiet, life as a schoolteacher when she meets Don Richardson. She knows he is married, but falls hard for him and is soon having an affair with him. She completely trusts him, believing everything he tells her, and is shocked when he flees Ireland after having conned several people out of their money, including many of Ella's friends and her own father. Shamed, Ella quits teaching and takes on several part time jobs to help her family financially. One job she takes on involves filming a documentary about Quentins, a beloved restaurant in Dublin, which has served many people with quite interesting stories. Ella flies to New York to convince businessman Derry King to invest in the documentary. As she is trying to get the documentary off the ground, she is also struggling with her conscience as to whether or not she should return Don's laptop to him or turn it over to the police who are looking for him. Not an easy decision as she is convinced that Don still loves her.

"Quentins" is a mixed bag. Interspersed with Ella's story are short stories about the patrons of Quentins, a technique that threw me off at first because I had no idea who the characters were that showed up halfway through the book and thought I had missed something. Ultimately, however, the short stories prove more interesting than Ella's story, as she is the type of character that readers will feel like shaking (how she can believe Don still loves her until almost the end of the book is beyond me). I would have liked to know more about some of the minor characters that are in the short stories, especially Quentin himself, who appears far too briefly in the novel.

Several of Binchy's beloved characters appear throughout the book. We learn more about Patrick and Brenda Brennan, who run Quentins, and meet Patrick's brother Blouse. Ria and Colm from "Tara Road" show up, albeit briefly, and Tom and Cathy from "Scarlet Feather" appear as do Simon and Maude, who may be my all time favorite Binchy characters. Aidan and Signora from "Evening Class" show up and Quentins nicely wraps up their love story. These touches are what ultimately make "Quentins" worth reading.
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LibraryThing member AnnieHidalgo
I don't think anyone has any illusions about Maeve Binchy being a _good_ author, and yet, she's not a very bad one. The people in her stories are all so kind and nice to one another, with interesting backstories, and everyone always gets precisely what they deserve. Having never been to Ireland, I also appreciate the local character. It's fun to virtually visit places. This one is focused around a restaurant - its managers and a group of people who are doing a documentary about it. There's a central story involving a crook and his jilted lover, but it reads like a series of interconnected vignettes - a hundred little lives, all tied together by this restaurant, and the film-to-be. Nice people, nice story. Maeve Binchy is the literary equivalent of watching When Harry Met Sally. You could do worse.… (more)
LibraryThing member NaggedMan
I'd forgotten just what a good writer she is. The plot, such as it is, is the least important thing in this wonderful collection of pen portraits and insights into the human condition. Read it!
LibraryThing member eargent
Loved it. The restaurant and all the characters involved was a great setting.
LibraryThing member nfoskett521
Bringing in several characters from her other books was a treat for someone like me who reads every novel she puts out. The story itself was a little weak, but was easily forgiven as I fell in love with her characters (again) and found myself caught up in their lives.
LibraryThing member silva_44
Once again, Ireland comes magically alive at the hand of Maeve Binchy. In this novel, set in Dublin, the reader is introduced to characters from other Binchy novels, such as Ria Lynch, the twins, and Signora. I cried at the end, as usual!
LibraryThing member blondestranger
A charming little beach read romance with twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages. You can't help but admire the perseverance of the main character, Ella, as she overcomes her disappointments while always finding love along the way. The author seamlessly intertwines all of the characters and their personal stories together to make a fun and light-hearted read.… (more)
LibraryThing member cindyloumn
Not one of my favorite Maeve books. She referred alot to prev. characters in her other books, and that was confusing. if you hadn't read her other books, it would be even more confusing. It was a good story line. the female character was a bit dense about having an affair with a married man, and believing him all the time.
LibraryThing member Bookmarque
I can’t believe I read another one of these. They are silly and predictable and transparent and like a soap opera, but I like them. When you read one, you always know that the good folks will triumph over the bad and the bad will get their just desserts.

Her stories these days are vastly simpler than previously. Loch Glass was fairly complex, as was Circle of Friends. Now, she has so many characters and so many connections, that just those are enough to keep straight without the addition of a major plot or theme.… (more)
LibraryThing member MrsLee
Please understand, the two stars are not for the quality of the writing. The writing is fine. They are about my enjoyment of the story. I spent most of the story very fed up with the wishy-washiness of the main character and her lack of backbone. I also thought the end very strange and unrealistic, having given birth to three children myself.

So, this mostly takes place in Dublin and the concept of the many lives touched by the restaurant is a lovely concept. I enjoyed many of those tales. I can see how other people like Maeve Binchy's novels because she is very good at creating characters and getting the reader involved in the story. I however, will never be able to enjoy those stories because I am impatient with her characters and their very real weaknesses.
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LibraryThing member jlapac
This is a book that I keep on my shelf to read over and over. I think it was better the second or third time I read it. I love Binchy's descriptions.

The book is set in Dublin and the core of the book is a restaurant that figures prominently into the lives of the various characters. I like this book and have read it a number of times, because of the layering. There is a main story that brings all the characters together around the main character. But each person or group of people that interacts with the main character has a back story. The way Binchy has written the book makes it seem like there are a several short stories intertwined with the story of the novel. I also like it because several characters from Binchy's other book, Tara Road show up.… (more)
LibraryThing member moonshineandrosefire
Quentins is a Dublin restaurant that has a thousand stories to tell. Ella Brady thinks that a documentary about Quentins is just the thing to interest people, but as she researches these stories she discovers that not all stories should be told. I really liked this story but the plot was a bit too contrived. I give it an A!… (more)
LibraryThing member cng12345
Mendy liked it. A creative way to tell about people, relationships and how they can change, using a familiar scene as the center...a restaurant.
LibraryThing member lindap69
I would have ejected this book sooner if I had another choice as the beginning story about Ella and her affair with a married man was tedious and whinny. The other story lines were better, but this was not one of my Binchy favorites
LibraryThing member tafesahelenclark
A charming little beach read romance with twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages. You can't help but admire the perseverance of the main character, Ella, as she overcomes her disappointments while always finding love along the way. The author seamlessly intertwines all of the characters and their personal stories together to make a fun and light-hearted read. ( )… (more)
LibraryThing member alabraham
I just discovered Maeve Binchy recently. I usually like historical fiction, but I really like her development of the characters. You really get to know them. This was a good read, although a little confusing at times. Wasn't always sure if we were in the present and focusing on the main character, Ella, or if it was about the Quentin's customers. I found the plot about Ella interesting and it held my interest through until the end of the story. The story about Quentin's was also interesting, but as I stated earlier, a reader really has to pay attention to the transitions.… (more)
LibraryThing member FHC
Interesting style of writing multiple subplot chapters interspersed with what would be seen as the main plot.. a young woman choosing her own path in spite of common sense and all that's wisdom in relationships and bearing greater consequences than even that wisdom could have foretold..
Ella accepts the invitation and advances of a handsome, charming, well known financier, married with children.. what she perceives as an idyllic life with the man of her dreams is soon revealed to be anything other and at great cost to herself and all who had been charmed..

Interesting subplots of patrons and visitors to Dublin's finest restaurant, Quentins, round out this story with personality and relational connections that seem to be leading to an expected outcome that surprisingly screeches to a halt just when you're thinking it's all 'a wrap'...
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LibraryThing member Fliss88
I listened to this as an Audio-book, although I did go out and buy the 'book' later. Another typical Maeve Binchy novel, nice light reading, nothing that needs too much concentration, but pleasant nonetheless.
LibraryThing member flydodofly
The equivalent to "easy listening" music, this book is an absolute "easy reading" piece. One is entertained and reads on, and the book just unravels. Ms Binchy is good at her trade, a skillful narrator, too. And there is nothing garrish about it, or in bad taste, and it is only slightly kitschy. Still - there is not more in there, what you read is what you get. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, not at all.… (more)
LibraryThing member SandyAMcPherson
I enjoyed the development of the restaurant business in this novel. It differs from Scarlet Feather and yet the author is adept at incorporating characters from her other novels so that you feel like you have insights about them already. It doesn't bother me that characters are derived from other volumes of her work.
LibraryThing member AprilBrown
What ages would I recommend it too? – Sixteen and up.

Length? – Several day’s read.

Characters? – Memorable, several characters.

Setting? – Ireland 1990's.

Written approximately? – 2002.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? – Ready to read more.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? No.

Short storyline:

Notes for the reader: This story brings in characters from several of Maeve Binchy's other novels. However, some of the timeframes seem off. In one place she mentions that Quentin's has been open one year, and Colm just opened his restaurant on Tara Road. The film is supposed to take place after Quentin's is 40 years old, so that Brenda would be nigh, or over 60, and so would Colm and Ria. Some timelines seem to not mesh correctly.

However, this is still a great novel, and if I hadn't just read Tara Road, i wouldn't know that!
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LibraryThing member Icewineanne
If you haven't read Scarlet Feather, read that one first, as this is the sequel. Fun read 3.5 stars :-)
LibraryThing member gypsysmom
Maeve Binchy is an Irish novelist who tells interesting stories about ordinary people caught up in their trials, tribulations and triumphs. Quentins is the name of a restaurant in Dublin. The book tells the story of the people who work there and the customers who dine there. I defy you not to get hooked by at least one of the plot lines. I first read Ms. Binchy's work when I was vacationing in Ireland and I was thrilled to discover her. Since then she has come to the attention of the North American book buying public and her books are always on the best seller lists. I think her earlier work was slightly better than the later novels. So if you like this book try some of her early stuff like The Lilac Bus.… (more)
LibraryThing member theReadingHead
As always this was an engaging story of adversity and the struggles to stay afloat. This was a well paced v book which had me eager for more from the start.



Dutton Adult (2002), Edition: First Edition, 359 pages


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

359 p.; 6.46 inches


0525946829 / 9780525946823
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