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3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,764 Ratings  ·  648 Reviews
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 about Quentins that will capture the spirit of Dublin from the 1970s to the present day. And Quentins has a thousand stories to tell: tales of love, of betrayal, of revenge; of times when it looked ready for success and time
Paperback, 403 pages
Published 2003 by Orion (first published 2002)
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Circle of Friends by Maeve BinchyTara Road by Maeve BinchyScarlet Feather by Maeve BinchyThe Glass Lake by Maeve BinchyQuentins by Maeve Binchy
Best Books By Maeve Binchy
5th out of 24 books — 125 voters
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourtCircle of Friends by Maeve BinchyIn the Woods by Tana FrenchDubliners by James JoyceTara Road by Maeve Binchy
Best Fiction Set in Ireland
7th out of 312 books — 300 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 22, 2009 Lauren rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this one. There is a huge array of characters here, most of which are terrific. Unfortunately, though, the one whose story frames the rest is a complete nit. If only we could avoid her, this book would be beautiful!
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
Anne L.
Oct 12, 2011 Anne L. rated it did not like it
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 i ...more
Apr 20, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Set in contemporary Dublin, Quentins tells the story of Ella Brady, a young woman who has fallen for The Wrong Man. The tale is both universal and timeless, but this time around there is the added elements of tax fraud, hiding out in Spain and The Mystery of the Laptop Computer. While great parts of this book are highly improbable, unrealistic and unnecessary, this book was a really great read. It isn’t the main characters that make it work, but the side characters (there are many, and some from ...more
Jun 30, 2009 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Modern Ireland fans
Shelves: fiction, lite-lit, ireland
This is my first Maeve Binchy book and I was pretty pleased for the most part. I was finally drawn to her because of my affinity for all things Irish.

There are enough stories and fully-fleshed out characters to keep one entertained throughout. However, the main character, Ella, does such a disservice to womankind as I have ever met in literature. Trust me though, the larger story that unfolds (most of which she doesn't appear in) is a real gem. I definitely would read another Binchy book that s
Susan Decker
Feb 02, 2014 Susan Decker rated it it was ok
I can not believe I finished this book. The sub plots were okay, but the main plot was almost unbearable. Ella, the main character is a disgrace to all women. She proved herself to be a weak, vulnerable character, and everyone babied her when she finally got what she deserved. I screamed in frustration every time she pulled the "He still loves me" stunt. Come on! He fled the country with every penny of savings your family and friends had, Yeah. He still loves you, and he's SO worth waiting for. ...more
Aug 04, 2015 Icewineanne rated it liked it
Shelves: chicklit
If you haven't read Scarlet Feather, read that one first, as this is the sequel. Fun read 3.5 stars :-)
Grace J
Apr 29, 2013 Grace J rated it it was amazing
This was a re-read for me. Like going to reunion with friends, you are no sooner there than you feel as if you've never been apart. I love Maeve Binchy's writing and would heartily recommend her books to readers of contemporary fiction.
Jul 25, 2015 May rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this for the nth time. This is one of the books I take off my shelf and dust off every couple of years. I always considered this book as the sequel from Scarlett Feather which I also reread every couple of years for the same reason.

Rereading them is like meeting old friends and though we talked about the same old familiar things, we still found them funny, adorable or sad. We would laughed at the same jokes, shook our heads at the same stupid stories and moaned at the same
Apr 01, 2009 Diana rated it it was amazing
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 f ...more
Maeve Binchy makes you feel right at home with her books. She burrows in a softness and coziness right as the first chapter opens. But while I like this one much better than "circle of friends", I do have a hard time with Maeve Binchy's stories. For what they are, I think they are too long. I love the Irish culture that is written in and the array of characters. Except, for a novel, its much to long. For short stories, Maeve Binchy would be stellar. But its just really difficult for me to keep r ...more
Jun 24, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
At first I did not like Quentins. The characters didn't seem to have much depth and the story was a little boring. I have a really hard time relating to main characters that enter into extramarital affairs. Maybe that was my main issue. But then around page 150 it picked up and I started to love/hate characters where appropriate :-) I finally began to like and care about the main character, Ella, whom I hated at the beginning of the novel.

For the most part I enjoyed the short stories offered bet
Jul 04, 2014 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, irish
The audiobook is fantastic--lots of lovely brogues. It's a unique way of telling a story--characters are introduced separately, then they come together. I really enjoyed it, as it's a little slice of life. I wish it would have continued on.
Cecelia Hightower
Sep 29, 2012 Cecelia Hightower rated it did not like it
Shelves: carolee
I picked up this book after Maeve Binchy's death and after hearing that she was considered the JK Rowlingof Ireland. Kaylen and Bill were vacationing in Ireland so it seemed like good karma; Maeve wrote many books (like Debbie Macomber) so there were many titles to choose from... Quentins sounded interesting "a story of generations told through the history of a restaurant" ..... this book was not my cup of tea! After muddling through girl is swept off her feet by a handsome, rich man that turns ...more
Nov 12, 2010 J rated it did not like it
This book killed my unqualified love of Binchy books.

Stopped reading at page 37, the story was going the way of Circle of Friends. Ella is the 'good' one because she has only slept with a few men by her early 20's and she begins a major romance with a married man. Her parents have a disfunctional relationship with her and each other and offer no moral guidance. Her best friend constantly has one night stands.

Becoming a nun referenced as the worst thing that could happen to a woman (no sex). Thi
Kathleen Dixon
Jul 10, 2008 Kathleen Dixon rated it really liked it
How delightful! These characters have connections (or several of them) with the characters in Evening Class, which I read earlier this year. It took me a while to click, but I did eventually, even before the really obvious Signora.

I’ve enjoyed this novel just as much as I enjoyed the other. I love her people and I love the way she winds their stories around. This one revolves round a busy restaurant called Quentins, bringing our key character, Ella Brady, into its environs really beautifully as
Paula Dembeck
Sep 05, 2015 Paula Dembeck rated it liked it
Ella Bradley is a young teacher who falls for an older man named Don Richardson, a financier who is locked into a marriage of convenience. Her friends and family try to warn her against him, but she is smitten and will not listen. She finally discovers that Don is not all that he seems to be when she discovers he has embezzled money from his clients, including some from her family and taken off for Spain.

Ella is determined to help her parents recoup some of their losses. She quits her teaching
Feb 04, 2015 Katherine rated it liked it
Ella falls in love with a married man who promises that his marriage is over but due to his stakes in a financial company run by his father-in-law he can never leave his loveless marriage. Ella falls for it and the novel is about the hurt she experiences when he runs off with everyone's money including her fathers. She is devastated and immerses herself in a new project to make a film in Ireland about the lives of people who work and own Quentins (famous high class restaurant). We learn about th ...more
Sep 27, 2014 Catherine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
Another outing for characters from Tara Road, Evening Class, Scarlet Feather and possibly a couple of others I can't remember. In spite of the title, the framing story is of Ella Brady and her many jobs (subtext: married men who have affairs are cads, no matter how wonderful they seem). One of them is in the eponymous restaurant, and that it is the setting for a potential film leads to another job and another sub-plot. As well as providing Ella with an inevitably pleasant resolution, this strand ...more
Autumn Doughton
May 19, 2010 Autumn Doughton rated it liked it
This book was okay. Just okay. It was the first Maeve Binchy novel that I've read since Circle of Friends back when I was in high school. Maeve Binchy has a huge fan base and I can see why--the two books that I've read are entertaining, sweet, happy-ending books perfect for cozying up to a fire with. But, honestly, I never felt that the main character, Ella Brady, was very REAL. I just didn't connect to her in a human way so the book only made it surface deep for me--if that makes any sense.
Alison C
Mar 14, 2015 Alison C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
May 17, 2014 Paula rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable book, if you're aware of the author's typical story. It certainly is a "signature" story of Binchy's, where the major character is used to tell multiple stories of multiple characters. And as far as I've read this author, usually with some sort of satisfying ending with every problem solved and solved well.

With this book, I think the main character was not very likable, even at the end of the book, though she did have some good points. But the character still was flat and f
Oct 30, 2015 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 3-star, read-2015
I enjoyed this...then again, with Maeve Binchy's books, I pretty much always do. There were a lot of references to characters in previous books, many of which I read but trying to remember the details was like constantly feeling fuzz on the tip of my brain. Since they aren't directly related in a series, it's not essential to have read any of the previous books but it provides some extra context and pleasure at seeing a step further in their lives. The novel itself was pleasant with interesting ...more
Dale Safford
Jan 14, 2014 Dale Safford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting how the separate stories of everyone blend into one whole story. Ella's tale was the most intriguing, and some of the others are quite heart-wrenching.

Ella Brady is the perfect child, and is first introduced to the restaurant Quentin's at her primary graduation when her parents help her celebrate. The owner is badly mistreating them, but hostess Brenda Brennan steps in and makes sure they have a very positive time. That becomes just the beginning of Ella's involvement with the restau
Aug 21, 2015 Cbeth rated it it was ok
Quick review to support similar comments to what others have said; this was a disappointment and it's difficult to fathom how it could have garnered close to 4 stars overall. It was simplistic, with an annoying and unsympathetic main character. The primary redeeming quality is the interesting cast of personalities; with more attention to them and less to Ella and Don (the main character and her married lover), it could have been a fun story. The story started out strong but the personalities wer ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
I prefer to read nonfiction but I have heard of Maeve Binchy for years and I was interested in reading one of her books. A friend suggested that I read Quentin's because the restaurant featured in the book comes up again in other Binchy books. This book has a lot of characters and story lines to follow but my favorite was the main story about a young teacher in Dublin who falls in love with a married man who also happens to be a scoundrel. The scoundrel bilks the young woman's friends and family ...more
Corran Duthie gray
May 11, 2014 Corran Duthie gray rated it liked it
This book didn't get off to a great start for me. The writing was decent, the plot as well, but the heroine, Ella, was completely unlikeable. She was presented as this sort of Mary Sue, but she is one of the most stupid characters I have ever come across. She did some incredibly idiotic things, and I found it impossible to sympathise when it all caught up to her. However, apart from that, the rest of the book was very good. The plot meant that we didn't have to deal with her for lots of the book ...more
Dec 20, 2014 Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: z-2014-read
This was not my favorite Maeve Binchy book, but I still appreciate the sense of community that is her trademark. The second half of the book was much better than the first.
Jul 20, 2009 Rharmer1607 rated it really liked it
I love just about anything Maeve Binchy writes. I love the ordinariness (is that a word?) of her characters lives, but somehow that hold my rap attention.
Oct 18, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Another lovely Maeve Binchy story.

This time, the story is set around a restaurant called Quentins in Dublin. The book flips through the lives of various characters who are either working at the restaurant or who are customers. Binchy also does a great job of bringing back some characters from some of her other stories (if you haven't read them, you'll be fine, but if you have, you'll appreciate the references!)

The overall arching story is about Ella who finds herself involved with Don, a marrie
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Intriguing, great ending. 3 18 Jul 30, 2013 12:49AM  
1st Book! 13 57 Jan 19, 2013 01:14PM  
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Maeve Binchy was born on 28 May 1940 in Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland, the eldest child of four. Her parents were very positive and provided her with a happy childhood. Although she described herself as an overweight child, her parents' attitude gave her the confidence to accept herself for who she was.

She studied at University College Dublin and was a teacher for a while. She also loved travelin
More about Maeve Binchy...

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“Why should I apologise for being utterly honest from the start, telling you the score, telling you the truth, coming to meet your parents, calling them to say I was worried that you didn't answer your phone. Are these the actions of some kind of shit? No, I think they're what a man who loves you might do.” 0 likes
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