The Copper Beech

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The Copper Beech
Author Maeve Binchy
Country Ireland
Language English
Publisher Orion
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)

The Copper Beech is a 1992 novel by Irish author Maeve Binchy.

The novel is centered on the lives of eight people, each of which have etched their dreams or desires into a large beech tree on the last day of school. The novel follows the progression of their lives and whether or not they accomplish their dreams.

Maura Brennan has no choice but to work after her schooling. She has a drunken father and so is happy to work as a live-in chamber maid in Ryan's hotel. Nessa'a mother prefers that her daughter does not speak with Maura even though they went to the same school. Maura falls in love with the barman Gerry O'Sullivan and becomes pregnant. They are married but the child has Down Syndrome, so the man leaves Maura to face it alone. She then works for the Darcys who have opened a new shop in the village. She unfolds the mystery of Gloria's missing jewels and ends up owning them.

Leo Murphy is the last child in her family. Her grown up brothers have left home. She lives with her injured soldier father and mother. Her teenage life is caught in the tangle her mother has made and she thinks she can never be normal again. She finds love, which helps her to break down the walls she made for herself.

Foxy Dunne from the slums never gives up. He works his way up in life and becomes a builder. He helps Leo forget her miseries and leave them behind.

Eddie Barton lives with his seamstress mother. He writes to his pen friend in Scotland, and eventually it turns into love. Both of them are worried about their appearances and don't know if they will be accepted by the other. The penfriend comes down to Shancarrig and gives a new lease of life to Eddie and Una Barton.

Vanessa Ryan thinks her mother is bossy, and she grows up to be a person of strong character, choosing the right man for her life.

Niall Hayes doesn't know how to get what he wants in life. His cousin Richard takes everything Niall desires: a place in his father's firm and the girl he loves. How he gets all this is the crux of his story.

The others are Maddy Ross and her love story, The Darcys, Dr. Blake and his son Declan. The school goes on sale. Who buys it and for what? That's the ending of the story.

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