Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Copper Beech

1992, 1993 Dell edition
Maeve Binchy
The Copper Beech
Original price $6.99, purchase price $1.98
Worn paperback

The title is similar to Echoes and Firefly Summer in that it doesn't seem to have much to do with the story, although I think it's meant to be a symbol of the importance of the small-town school that the tree shades.  The story more reminded me of The Lilac Bus, in that it covers the same span over and over, from different perspectives, although this time it's roughly 30 years, rather than one weekend.  I didn't feel that technique worked as well at novel length, especially since I didn't care for some of the characters here, or at least what was done with them.  

This time the little Irish town is Shancarrig, which means "old rock," and the landscape does seem to matter more than in past novels, not just the beech but Barna Woods.  Some people meet secretly in the woods, including the "old maid" (20ish) schoolteacher and the young priest, who don't quite go Thornbirds but do have sexual tension.  Oh, and there's something hidden in the rockery at the rich family's home.  The "where are they now" (1970) ending is weak and somewhat pointless, although it might've been more effective if Binchy had just told events in order.

If I recall correctly, the lake in The Glass Lake, coming up in 1995, actually is important to the story....

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