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The Copper Beech

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  20,462 ratings  ·  511 reviews
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 villa ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Dell Publishing (first published January 1st 1992)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  20,462 ratings  ·  511 reviews

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May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2017-completed
There is something very special about Maeve Binchy’s writing. The first time I read one of her books it was 1990. In the 27 years since then she has continued to produce books that are in-depth explorations into people’s hearts and minds. She does not do this ruthlessly or clinically, like a surgeon making a deep cut. She does so with delicacy, sensitivity, and a garden of compassion.

Are her books all rainbows and unicorns? Not by any stretch of the imagination. The endings are always positive a
Nov 01, 2008 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 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 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
Lucy Hannigan
Sep 02, 2012 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
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
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Great storyteller !!!
Sep 17, 2007 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
Christine Killeen
Jun 24, 2008 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
Kara Hansen
I always enjoy the cozy stories from Maeve Binchy. This one was not my favourite~ I found some of the stories dragged on a little too long.
Jan 31, 2012 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 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 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.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's funny, I think I read this one eons ago (back in the mid-2000s) but I never got into it. At least I can say that nothing read as familiar to me when I started this. I thought that the way that Binchy balances all of the characters, and then we get to see them in the end, adults, married, with children was great. I always want to know what happens next in a story, so we get a little of that here.

Binchy divides up the book and focuses on certain characters in the village of Schancarrig. We st
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love Maeve Binchy! Another feel-good tale.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good study of a small town.
Feb 03, 2011 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 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 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
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pleasure-reading
Maeve Binchy had a nice way of taking a lot of diverse characters and pulling them together to create a complete picture of a town or community. I found this interesting throughout. It struck me how much everyone thought they knew about one another, when in fact each person was deeper and different than believed. I think that is true of "real life" as well. We all have depths that few are able or take the time to plumb.
Not bad but I didn't enjoy it as much as I did with the other ones I have read from this author.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A chronicle of the intersecting lives of a small Irish town, Maeve Binchy's Copper Beech presents the everyday sorrows and joys of individuals and the supportive power of community. While the book is more a loose assortment of narrative strands than a tightly-plotted novel, each individual character maintains the reader's attention. In the book, Dr. Jims Blake reflects that "There was a human story everywhere he the small houses and in the big ones," and this idea best characterizes ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a few of Maeve Binchy's books and this one is the best so far. It centres around a small community and a school with a beech tree. Like many of her books it is not really a story as such, but more a collection of tales told from the perspective of different characters and all the tales intertwine. Each story brings an extra part to the tale so you get a more complete picture of what is happening in the town.

May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m giving this 5 stars based on my memory of reading it 10+ years ago and looooving it. I’ve been searching for a copy for a number of years now to reread it and see if I’d still love it as an adult.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure comfort read. Full of Irish charm, I discovered Maeve Bincy at 13 and loved her
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another story of a small Irish town; each chapter told from a different person's perspective, covering some of the same events but diving deeper into the experiences of each person when it's his or her chapter.
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.
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely drama starting off in the 50s telling the tale slowly of a whole community living in Shancarrig in Ireland and all centred around the schoolchildren who grew up and lived there as adults.
Every "chapter" is named after one of the characters and tells the tale of each one of the main characters in the village and how in essence all their stories interconnect with each other, there is Nessa Ryan daughter of the local hotel owners, Niall Hayes, a shy, diffident young man and son of the vill
Jul 20, 2013 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 don´t 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 bac
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
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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

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