Three Great Novels: "Evening Class", "The Copper Beech", "Tara Road"

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9780752852843: Three Great Novels:

EVENING CLASS The Italian evening class at Mountainview School is like hundreds of others all over Dublin. But this class has its own special quality - as the focus for the varied hopes and dreams of teacher and pupils alike. By the time the pupils set off on a grand trip to Italy, a surprising number of them have found more than the Italian language in the evening class. THE COPPER BEECH 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. Here is a delightful story of the lives, loves and dreams of the people who pass below its branches. TARA ROAD Ria and Marilyn have never met - they live thousands of miles apart, one in Tara Road, Dublin, the other in New England. When each needs a place to escape to, a house exchange seems an ideal solution. Along with the borrowed houses come gossip and speculation, and friendship, as Ria and Marilyn swap lives for the summer...

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Review:

Maeve Binchy can always be counted on to spin an involving tale about ordinary people that brings out the extraordinary in everyone. In Evening Class, Binchy zooms in on the working-class of Dublin. Schoolteacher Aidan Dunne organizes an evening class in Italian with the help of Nora O'Donoghue, an Irishwoman returning home after 26 years in Sicily. When the somewhat squashed-by-life denizens of the surrounding neighborhood take the unexpected step of enrolling in the class, they find their lives transformed.

Binchy tells her story from the viewpoints of eight different characters and rewards both them and her readers with happy endings after the requisite rocky road. Reading a novel by Maeve Binchy is like catching up with old friends--you know everything will turn out fine in the end, but you're still interested in how things get that way.

From the Publisher:

In Aiden Dunne's evening class, eight unlikely students gather every Tuesday and Thursday to learn Italian. Each person has a different reason for being there: There is Aiden himself, who is counting on the success of this class to make up for his waning career and family life; then Signora, the professoressa, who followed the man she loved to a faraway country and waited twenty-three years for him; Bill, the bank clerk and his spendthrift girlfriend, Lizzie; Connie, the society hostess with an oddly empty calendar; and Kathy, who takes the class at the urging of her sister, Fran, to relax from a demanding job, but who, through the people she meets, discovers a startling secret about her family that will change her future and the memories of her past.

As the class progresses, we learn more about the participants, and become thoroughly absorbed in each of their lives, watching their relationships grow throughout the year and culminating in a magical viaggio to Italy. In Evening Class, as in her ten previous bestsellers, Maeve Binchy depicts all that is extraordinary about ordinary lives and reaffirms her title as one of the most adored storytellers of our day.

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