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The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy

The Copper Beech

by Maeve Binchy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,536194,781 (3.57)40
  1. 00
    The Lilac Bus by Maeve Binchy (MissBrangwen)
    MissBrangwen: Both books have a similar concept: Short stories on different persons, but all intertwined and bound up through their place of living and other aspects.
  2. 00
    Full house by Maeve Binchy (Fliss88)
    Fliss88: This is a Quick Read title.
  3. 00
    The Builders (Gemma Open Door) by Maeve Binchy (Fliss88)
    Fliss88: This is a Quick Read title.

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English (17)  Dutch (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
'The Copper Beech' is a series of interwoven character studies, which tell different parts of a story of a small town community in Ireland, in the middle and late twentieth century. It opens with the description of a large beech tree, which gives shade in the grounds of a primary school. The school is being honoured with a visit from the Bishop, and we meet several characters from the town including some mischievous children.

There are then several sections, each written from the perspective of one of the people in the town. They usually start in the person's childhood, showing their upbringing and introducing some of their friends. There are ongoing threads too - who marries whom? Will Maura get her dream of a house of her own? What happens in Leo's family that makes her draw back from the rest of the community?

It's very well written, with excellent characterisations. Perhaps a bit slow-moving at times, and certainly no great excitement or intrigue, but for someone like me who enjoys reading about people, a very enjoyable book.

Previously read once, about ten years before. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Just didn't capture my interest, although I like a lot of her other works ( )
  nancynova | Jan 12, 2016 |
Whoever wrote that this was "60 pages, you can read it all in an easy sitting", must have been reading the first section ("Shancarrig School"), not the whole novel, which includes a further eight sections, looking at life from the perspectives of eight young people who left the school in the same year. The eponymous Copper Beech actually plays a relatively small part in their tales, its simply a hook on which to hang the twists and turns of growing up and adulthood, told with Binchy's extraordinary empathy for 'ordinary' people and how unordinary they really are. ( )
  NaggedMan | May 10, 2015 |
This is the story of small town anywhere. Everyone knows everyone else and everyone keeps tabs on what is going on, which is why I really loved the way this book is written, because each little story about one character overlaps in the way it should for people in a small town. This was a quick book to read and I really enjoyed the interactions of the characters and the crossing of the lives of the kids as they grew and changed. Some times I was moved, some times I was so angry at a character I wanted to smack them, some times I was smiling ear to ear as a character overcame some low point in their lives to move beyond what was expected and into something wonderful. That is life anywhere and it was enjoyable to see it so well handled here. ( )
  mirrani | Jun 15, 2014 |
Maeve Binchy's The Copper Beech is set in the small village of Shancarrig, where the small schoolhouse is dominated by a huge old copper beech tree, which over the years has seen generations of children come in and grow up. Junior Assistant Mistress Maddy Ross takes care of the very youngest students, but her true interests lie in the parish rather than the school; young Maura is from the wrong side of the tracks but full of kindness; Leo is the richest girl in town but holds the darkest secret of all; Eddie loves plants and flowers, things a boy shouldn't care about in this insular world; and Nessa is a determined young girl who wants to better herself. How all these children, and others, live and grow up and find their places in life is the heart of the story, and there are many suprises along the way.... As always, I enjoyed Binchy's gentle tales, really a collection of individual stories about each of her characters that are woven together to create a whole portrait of the world of a small Irish village in the 1950s and on. I don't think this is her best work, but it's very much a part of her general oevre, and as such it's a wonderful, quiet read. Recommended. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Apr 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maeve Binchyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grasman, GerardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Gordon, who has made my life so good and happy, with all my gratitude and love.
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Father Gunn knew that their housekeeper Mrs. Kennedy could have done it all much better than he would do it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440213290, Mass Market Paperback)

In the Irish town of Schancarrig, the young people carve their initials-and those of their loves—into the copper beech tree in front of the schoolhouse. But not even Father Gunn, the parish priest, who knows most of what goes on behind Shancarrig's closed doors, or Dr. Jims, the village doctor, who knows all the rest, realizes that not everything in the placid village is what it seems.

Unexpected passions and fear are bringing together the lives of so many, such as the sensitive new priest and Miss Ross, the slight, beautiful schoolteacher... Leonora, the privileged daughter of the town's richest family and Foxy Dunne, whose father did time in jail...and Nessa Ryan, whose parents run Ryan's Hotel, and two very different young men. For now the secrets in Shancarrig's shadows are starting to be revealed, from innocent vanities and hidden loves to crimes of the heart...and even to murder.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:05 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In the Irish town of Schancarrig, the young carve their initials--and those of their loves-into the copper beech tree in front of the schoolhouse. But not even Father Gunn, the parish priest, who knows most of what goes on behind Shancarrig's closed doors, or Dr. Jims, the village doctor, who knows all the rest, realizes that not everything in the placid village is what it seems.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

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