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The Copper Beech
The Copper Beech
Author: Maeve Binchy
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 everyt...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780440213291
ISBN-10: 0440213290
Publication Date: 10/2/1993
Pages: 400
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 235 ratings
Publisher: Dell
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Copper Beech on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
As a huge Maeve Binchy fan, I must say this hard to find book is not exactly like her others...and its uniqueness made me hesitate to read it. Wrong! It was different from most of her works, but good. No continuous characters like some of her later works, but all of your questions about the characters are indeed answered by the and of book. Enjoyable!
reviewed The Copper Beech on + 173 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
This book is non-traditional in its style - it's truly the same story but told several ways focusing on several of the many key players in the small town of Shancarrig. One might think of it as a class reunion in book form. The characters are well-developed and I wanted to know what had happened to each. The only thing lacking was a solid tying up at the end.
reviewed The Copper Beech on + 364 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
What a delightful read this is! It's the story of the lives of the inhabitants of a tiny Irish village from the 50's onwards, with an emphasis on the pupils of the small village school. The three roomed school is built under the shade of a huge Copper Beech tree on which generations of children have carved their initials. The pupils range from the elite of the village, the Major's daughter, the solicitor's son and the daughter of the hotel owners, to the desperately poor offspring of the town dressmaker and the town drunk, with a few adults thrown in for good measure, such as the spinster who yearns for the young priest, the school teacher couple who can't have children of their own and the hotel owners who are trying to improve their social status. Add to the plot a covered up murder, a randy bachelor and a romantic wife who's looking for some extra spice in her life and it all makes for a good, meaty read which is difficult to put down. Maeve Binchy fans will love it!
reviewed The Copper Beech on + 87 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Maeve Binchy always takes me to a comfortable community and lets me in on all their secrets. Not every small community knows everything about everybody else and she tells the tale well.
reviewed The Copper Beech on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
One of my favorite authors and this is one of my favorites that she's written.
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reviewed The Copper Beech on
In the close-knit Irish community of Shancarrig, there stands an old copper beech overlooking the schoolhouse. For years, the imposing tree has been both a silent spectator and a staunch supporter of the generations of students who have gone to school in Shancarrig. Eight children once carved their names - and the names of those who they loved - into the bark of the tree, as part of an annual tradition that takes place on the final day of school. And so, the old copper beech has kept the secrets of these former pupils; bearing the etchings of their myriad ambitions and hopeful dreams for the future within its trunk.

These eight children have since become adults and are living their own lives. Yet the schoolhouse in Shancarrig still holds a special place in all of their hearts; as it is the schoolhouse that has shaped them and made them who they are. For each person, their hometown holds such special memories - some memories that are just too personal or private to ever be shared. However, the mighty copper beech has witnessed various declarations of love, hope, and identity - all the youthful dreams of the children who once played beneath its sheltering branches.

Although they live such vastly different lives, these eight dreamers can certainly agree on one thing about the bucolic and peaceful town of Shancarrig: life is dull; some might even say deadly dull. From Ryan's Hotel to Barna Woods, where the gypsies set up their campsites each year, from Nellie Dunn's bustling little sweet shop to Father Gunn's quiet parish church; the pace of life in tiny Shancarrig is placidly uneventful. And the community seems to prefer it that way.

However, for some more passionate souls - such as Nessa Ryan - there must be more to life in Shancarrig than running the family hotel. Yet if Nessa could just peel back the various layers of serenity - if she could see beyond the calm exterior of life in Shancarrig - she would see so much unexpected drama: the schoolhouse's headmistress, Maddy Ross has a secret love; Eddie Barton has developed a surprising friendship with someone through the mail; and Maura Brennan has discovered that she has a curious kinship with a glamorous couple - Mike and Gloria Darcy - recent newcomers to Shancarrig.

In this picturesque little town, where the river runs around the great rock for which the town is named, human life flows along in all its variety. Lives intertwine in much the same way as names crisscross on the trunk of that sturdy copper beech. Yet, from the cottages where Foxy Dunne and his family live in poverty; to the grand house where Leonora 'Leo' Murphy lives; and for the Kellys', who live near the school; as well as the town physician, Dr. Jims Blake, who lives on The Terrace - nothing is as it seems. For now, the secrets that have long been hidden deep in Shancarrig's shadows are being brought back into the light.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. As I know I have said before, I absolutely love Maeve Binchy as an author. In my opinion, she writes such poignant stories and develops such personable characters that I found myself truly connecting with as I read further along in the book.

I also appreciate that her plots are never just the 'chocolate box' variety - the 'feel good, happily ever after' type plots and stories. Ms. Binchy's stories aren't always wrapped up in a nice, neat little bow. I love her writing style precisely because I find it to be more realistic and true to life. I would definitely give this book an A+!
reviewed The Copper Beech on + 26 more book reviews
This is a book about pepole and realtionship, it is about frienship, love and fanmily and so much more, I highly suggest that you read it!!!!
reviewed The Copper Beech on + 18 more book reviews
This is one of her better ones. I've enjoyed all but this is one I'd put near the top.