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The Copper Beech

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  17,643 Ratings  ·  411 Reviews
Shancarrig School stands in the shade of a glorious old copper beech whose colours tell the passing of the seasons and the years: a tree that has watched over many young lives ...

Under Junior Assistant Mistress Maddy Ross's careful gaze the children play, but out of school Maddy's gaze lingers where it shouldn't. Maura Brennan, a bundle of fun from the rough end of town, p
Paperback, 298 pages
Published 1992
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Nov 01, 2008 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2004
This is my favorite Maeve Binchy book that I've read to date. I've yet to find another person who feels the same way, so perhaps I'm the odd woman out, but I don't mind. I simply got immersed in the story and found it easy to relate to the characters especially Chris.
I loved the idea that everyone thought what they knew what was going in the other characters lives, but it wasn't until you got to their respective chapters that you learned the truth....
Nov 05, 2016 Stacy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Maeve Binchy's stories; she's such a marvelous storyteller. This book, set in a small Irish country village, follows a group of school children, from childhood through to parenthood. Their lives are entertwined, like many in small towns, but each of their stories hold secrets. The book was set from the 50's and ended in the 70's, and gives a good picture of life at that time in rural Ireland. The school that had seen generations of children walk through its doors, to carve th ...more
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2008
'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
Cheyenne Blue
I had a Maeve Binchy phase, oh, about 20 years ago. She wrote these cosy books about an old fashioned Ireland, where people were quirky, knew everything about everyone, and were never nasty to each other. Bad things happened to good people, but they got past it. I outgrew Maeve, but from time to time I pick one up, for a pleasant re=read.

The Copper Beech is one of her ensemble cast stories. She takes a central theme and weaves the individual stories around the centrepost. It's a bit like reading
Lucy Hannigan
Sep 02, 2012 Lucy Hannigan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One evening I went to visit with a neighbor who had just returned from another neighbor's house with 2 books and this was one of them. I mentioned that I loved Maeve Binchy and was sadden by her passing. My neighbor asked if I would like to borrow the book as she had the other book to read as well and I gratefully snatched it out of her hands. At 400+ pages, I wasn't sure how long it would take me to finish it--especially since I had a few library books that were due back soon. The next day my h ...more
Sep 17, 2007 Clayton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that I sometimes get a sense of deja vu when starting any of Binchy's books. Her style is very much her own and taking any chapter from any of her books you can immediately tell it is a Bincky book. However, I think that that is one of the things that appeals to me about her as a writer. I read many modern novels that stretch the form and push the reader to re-evaluate our place on earth, etc., but when the world becomes just a tad to overbearing I always know I can open a Binchy ...more
Morana Mazor
Aug 24, 2015 Morana Mazor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Pod crvenom bukvom", M. Binchy; Svako toliko otkrijem neku knjigu Maeve Binchy koju nisam čitala, pa je tako bilo i sa ovom. I nema tu iznenađenja, znam da će mi se svidjeti jer volim kako ona piše.. Opise malih irskih gradića u okolici Dublina i njihovih žitelja.. Tako je i ovdje.. Irsko mjestašce Shancarrig i osam ljudi i njihovih priča koje se, naravno, poprilično međusobno isprepliću. Toplo, životno, "opipljivi" ljudi sa svojim vrlinama, manama i strahovima.. I svi se na ovaj i ili onaj nač ...more
Jun 24, 2008 Tini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great all around story; I love Maeve Binchy anyway, so it's hard for me to find a book of hers I don't like. I like the way she tells her stories; this one, like most, revolves almost entirely around different personalities, their secrets, actions, loves, hates, and how they all interact with each other. Complex, yet simple. The book spans almost 30 years, and you feel like you've been there all along as the characters grow and change. Nothing earth shattering, nothing overly gripping, just a ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Bookmooch
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 ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5 out of 5
A huge copper beech tree sits in the school yard in Shancarrig and everyone has weitten their names in the tree through out the years. From ryan's Hotel to Barna Woods, where the gypsies came each year, from Nellie Dunn's sweet shop to FatherGunn's church, the tenor of life in this small Irish village is outwardly placid and uneventful. Nessa Ryan would say it was deadly dull. But, behind the calm exterior, serenity fades into unexpected drama. Maddy Ross has a secret love; Eddie Barton a surpri ...more
Apr 21, 2008 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book simply because its author was Irish--I'm into all things Irish these days. The author tells the stories, one at a time, of eight schoolchildren in a small Irish village who carve their initials on graduation day into the huge copper beech tree beside the school. The stories intertwine and build on each other. Some characters were likeable, others not, which I'm sure was the intent of the author, but it shows how you never know what life will bring.
Not bad but I didn't enjoy it as much as I did with the other ones I have read from this author.
Terry B
I enjoyed the stories of the various children growing up in the small Irish village and seeing how their lives intertwined. It was not one of my favorite Maive Binchy books but if you enjoy Binchy's writing you will enjoy this book.
Jul 20, 2013 Renée rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a short story book of Binchy before that was very nice and I feel Binchy somehow transferred her strength in writing short stories into this novel, by describing the lives of several people in one village in several stories that can be read on their own, but add to one another when read together.

I dont know how she does it, but she can describe a whole life of a person in a few pages in such a way that I can sympathize with the character, be absorbed and need some time to come back
It was a wonderful book of growth, with very three dimensional characters. Reading the children grow up from playful young things to matured, sensible thoughful adults was a joy, and I felt as if I grew together with them. There were some draggy stories in them, but it was well worth the good parts.

There were many parent-child relationships in the book, each with their own flaws and beauty. None are perfect, but they all are important in their little ways. I think Maeve Binchy was adept in show
Feb 03, 2011 Stasha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot say that it was my favourite Binchy yet but I must say that it was quite interesting. I liked the way that the author broke down the novel according to the several characters who made the story what it was. I also liked the fact that when an event occured with one character, more details were provided in another chapter based on a supporting character. At times the novel was difficult to put down as the story was so appealing, despite the fact that there was no great particular event pe ...more
Jul 23, 2013 Cait rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, favorites
I have been reading Maeve Binchy books since I was a teenager and for as long as I can remember, Tara Road has always been my favourite. Well today that all changed when I finished "The Copper Beech." My new favourite Binchy book.

The Copper Beech is an incredible compilation of short stories about the people living in the small town of Shancarrig. The stories describe their lives, hopes, feelings, secrets, fears and loves. Though there are 8 stories of different people, they are all woven toget
Nov 08, 2015 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unusual narrative taking the reader from the beginning of the story, with the people involved being mostly children, through several formative years of their lives separately, adding extra details like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle until finally you realise the bigger picture. I found the plot easy to follow, and there were plenty of surprises, but not unreasonable ones. The only thing this book lost a star for was that the ending, where the characters' story joins back into each other's and we f ...more
Oct 28, 2007 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Copper Beech is just a standard Binchy novel. The characters and setting were very typical Binchy. As with The Silver Wedding, each chapter was about one character, and I found some of their individual stories interesting, or at least with the potential to be interesting had they been developed and not overshadowed by the general "how the years pass by in a small Irish town" plot. Clearly that's one of Binchy's favorite plots, and she did it pretty well in Firefly Summer. However, I don't th ...more
Feb 28, 2008 Dalene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never judge a book club member by her cover. There was this lady in my former book group whom I didn't know and when she chose this book I just knew she'd picked it up at the check-out line at Albertson's. Wrong. Maeve Binchy is a good storyteller and her characters are as real as their lives are not boring.
May 30, 2016 K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maeve Binchy's tales are so captivating. Her descriptions are thorough. She begins with the tree in the school yard and ends there, too. I listened to this while walking and was transported to Ireland.
Joan Mauch
Not my cup of tea. Too many characters to keep track of. I realize Maeve Binchy is a wonderful writer, I simply didn't enjoy the novel as much as I thought I would. The problem is no doubt with me, not Binchy.
Nov 28, 2016 Arlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Maeve Binchy's best books so far.
Good book, the ending was a bit of a surprise.
Apr 02, 2015 Notserp2002 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved this book....felt like i got to know the characters as each chapter focused on one person from the town.
Dec 04, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-story
The Copper Beech is typically Irish, and Maeve is always enjoyable.
Joanne Reese
Jan 16, 2017 Joanne Reese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The little Irish town of Shancarrig provides an unforgettable landscape for this drama to unfold. Binchy creates the setting much like she would a character, which is brilliant. Told in omniscient POV, this story provides just the right amount of information for each character and each family unit represented. There are shocking twists throughout the piece that pull at a reader's empathy. And I loved the way one character's story would intersect with another.

Binchy has an extraordinary way of ge
Feb 14, 2017 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is a story about the people in a small Irish village from roughly the 1940s through the 1960s, with each chapter describing the life of one inhabitant. In same ways it reminded me of a movie like Love Actually, with no one main character, but instead an intertwining tale of many connected people. I'm not one for long reviews, so I'll simply say I enjoyed the read.
Mar 24, 2017 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: somerville
Maeve Binchy is always delightful to read. She has a gift of storytelling where simple, ordinary life becomes multi-leveled and characters intersect in intriguing ways. It's like a glacier - only a tip shows above the water, yet there's so much more deep down below the water.
Amy Brown
Jan 20, 2017 Amy Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite books. It's a lovely story with beautiful characters. Couldn't put it down!
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  • September
  • Colony
  • A Week in Winter
  • The Tea House on Mulberry Street
  • Starting Over
  • Homecoming
  • A Village Affair
  • Never Too Late
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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