Scarlet Feather is set in contemporary Dublin, and is the story of Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather, who go into business together as caterers. Tom is the son of a builder and his fanatically devout wife, both of whom are disappointed that he hasn't joined the family building firm. Cathy's father is an inveterately optimistic gambler on the horses, ...
Scarlet Feather is set in contemporary Dublin, and is the story of Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather, who go into business together as caterers. Tom is the son of a builder and his fanatically devout wife, both of whom are disappointed that he hasn't joined the family building firm. Cathy's father is an inveterately optimistic gambler on the horses, and her mother, Lizzie, is a domestic cleaner. In particular Lizzie cleans the house of Cathy's mother-in-law, the fearsome Hannah Mitchell. Hannah is furious that her clever lawyer son, Neil, should have married her maid's daughter, and is even more outraged when Cathy sets up Scarlet Feather with Tom. Tom's hopelessly obsessive love for his beautiful, ambitious model girlfriend, Marcella, and Cathy's increasingly distant marriage to Neil, form the heart of the emotional tangles in the story. Against a background of hilarious catering triumphs and disasters, these key relationships begin to crumble, and the aphrodisiac of shared business trials and tribulations starts its inevitable work on Cathy and Tom. Meanwhile, around them, a magical supporting cast of classic Binchy characters weaves its spell: a comically dreadful but endearing set of twin children; a lonely man looking for the foster daughter he had to hand back to her real parents years earlier; the glamorous aunt whose financial backing of Scarlet Feather has a dubious source. These and many more wend their way through a story of love and heartbreak and laughter - Maeve Binchy at her most beguiling.
I absolutely loved this book - the writing is so simple yet the storyline isn't. I found it to be quite profound. The characters felt so real; they learnt many life lessons, with many unexpected events along the way.
Definitely one of the best books I have ever read - enjoyed it immensely!
May 14, 2009
I like reading Binchy's books to get a glimpse of Irish culture. This book followed two characters in business together through family issues, relationship issues, and business struggles. I'd recommend it!
May 27, 2008
More than the sum of its parts
This is the first Binchy book that I've read since picking up "Circle of Friends" when I was in high school. I couldn't really remember much about the author besides that I enjoyed the book. Well, the enjoyment hasn't changed. What has changed is that I've read a lot of authors in the intervening years that don't match up to Binchy's talent. Somehow, her story of two Dublin caterers is more than the sum of its parts. The writing is simple and straightforward, but it ultimately laces together a story that is anything but either of those two words. This book is like comfort food; you know what's in it, but the feeling it gives you goes above and beyond the ordinary power of those ingredients by themselves. Binchy isn't interested in painting any of her characters in two dimensions. Instead, they run the gamut of type, all of them believably inhabiting her fictional world, reacting naturally to the stimuli with which they are presented according to the personalities that Binchy has created with such care. And the best thing is, you recognize these outsize personalities. The author has a remarkable talent for capturing the traits and quirks of people and putting them on the page intact. I will definitely be picking up more work by Maeve Binchy in the future.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-01-08 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.
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