Echoes

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Overview

"It was sometimes called the echo cave, and if you shouted your question loud enough in the right direction, you got an answer instead of an echo..."

Clare and David—divided as children by a rigid social code that branded her as shanty Irish and him as gentry...brought together as adults by a desire that knew no class, no barriers, only the urgent hunger of two people destined to love—and ready to defy a world determined to keep them apart.

...

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Overview

"It was sometimes called the echo cave, and if you shouted your question loud enough in the right direction, you got an answer instead of an echo..."

Clare and David—divided as children by a rigid social code that branded her as shanty Irish and him as gentry...brought together as adults by a desire that knew no class, no barriers, only the urgent hunger of two people destined to love—and ready to defy a world determined to keep them apart.

Even at fifteen, David Power knew the echo would answer eleven-year-old Clare O'Brien's dearest wish, to win a school prize. But it was years before Dr. Power's cherished only son saw in the huckster's daughter the answer to his own heart's desire. Here in Castlebay, perched precariously on the seaside cliffs, the lines between them were clearly drawn. Clare's only hope is to leave the town where time stopped, propelled by scholarships to Dublin, fueled by her own drive and brilliance, far from the insular, gossipy world of Castlebay and those in its thrall... Angela O'Hara, beautiful, insolated, a teacher trapped in the convent school, who risks everything to help Clare escape... Gerry Doyle, the town charmer who finds in Clare the woman he vows to have at any price... Caroline Nolan, the beautiful, rich outsider who comes to plunder...

For Clare, that was before the wild freedom of Dublin, and love. And David. Before fate drove them back to Castlebay, and the past...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The bracing sea air brings little pleasure to the year-round residents of Castlebay, a village on the coast of Ireland, where class lines are strictly observed and morals publicly monitored. The youngest daughter of a shopkeeper whose meagre living depends on summer trade, Clare O'Brien is determined to move beyond her present circumstances. Hard work and the guidance of an irreverent, caring schoolteacher bring the resolute scholar to a college in Dublin. There, her steps falter when she enters into an ardent affair with David Power, the son of Castlebay's only doctor and another willing exile. Although David returns her love, their devotion is sorely tested when they are forced to marry and return home. As a wealthy, new-fledged doctor, David easily resumes his privileged position, but Clare is trapped between her mother-in-law's cold fury and the town's unease. Sharply drawn, memorable characters and a convincing picture of a small Irish community bring freshness and zest to a familiar tale. Binchy also wrote Light a Penny Candle.
Library Journal
This romantic melodrama, set in an Irish seaside town in the Fifties and early Sixties, is as wholesome and engaging as the author's first novel, Light a Penny Candle LJ 2/15/83. Memorable characters include a poor shopkeeper's daughter who wins a university scholarship, only to miss final exams by a cruel twist of fate; a medical student who shocks his family by marrying "beneath him''; a lonely schoolteacher who guards two scandalous secrets about her local celebrity brother; and a kindly, ubiquitous priest who knows all, tells nothing, and holds everyone together. It's a little slow to get into, but by the halfway mark the reader is fully involved in all the subplots and is turning pages nonstop. Recommended for most public libraries and for YA collections. Literary Guild alternate. Joyce Smothers, Ocean Cty. Lib., Toms River, N.J.
New York Times Book Review
Echoes, set in Ireland, is a lovely, ''soft'' book. Maeve Binchy, has written a languid tale set 30 years ago about the people who live in the claustrophobic seaside resort of Castlebay....The Castlebay Maeve Binchy creates is a marvelous place to visit - it's the living there that's hard.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440122098
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 494
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.98 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy is the author of Nights of Rain and Stars, Quentins, Scarlet Feather, Light a Penny Candle, and many other bestselling novels.

Biography

If storytelling is an art, then Maeve Binchy is unquestionably one of today's master artists. After all, Binchy was born, educated, and lives in Ireland, a land well known for its great storytellers. Firmly grounded in the Irish storytelling tradition, Binchy has earned a sizeable following of enthusiastic fans for her 11 novels and 4 collections of short stories. I had a very happy childhood, which is unsuitable if you're going to be an Irish writer," Maeve jokes. Perhaps that happy childhood is why Binchy did not publish her first novel until she was 43 years old. But there's no doubt that once she did she proved herself to be an immensely talented, multiple New York Times-bestselling author. her name.

Binchy was introduced into the joys of storytelling at an early age. Her mother, Maureen, and father, William, a prominent Dublin barrister, encouraged Binchy and her three siblings to be avid readers as well as to share stories at dinner and, as her brother William admits, nobody loved telling stories more than Maeve.

Growing up in the quiet seaside town of Dalkey, located about 10 miles south of Dublin, Binchy also found herself dreaming of escape. "I love Dalkey now," she says, "but when I was young, I thought it was somewhat like living in the desert." Her desire to escape led her first to the big city, to the University College in Dublin, where she studied history and French. After graduating in 1960, she taught Latin, French, and history in a Dublin grade school and was able to indulge her love of traveling during summer vacations. She proved so popular a teacher that parents of her students pooled their money to send her on a trip to Israel. Her father was so impressed by the letters she wrote describing Israeli life that he typed them up and sent them to the Irish Independent newspaper. That's how Maeve returned home to find, quite to her surprise, that she was now a published writer.

Using her newfound interest in journalism, she got a job on The Irish Times as the women's editor, an unlikely role for her, she jokingly acknowledges, given her hopeless lack of fashion sense. In the early 70s, she shifted to feature reporting, and moved to London. The move was motivated only in part by her career. Making the kind of bold life-altering decision that many of her characters are prone to, Binchy decided to take a chance and move to London to be with the man she'd fallen in love with during a previous visit—Gordon Snell, a BBC broadcaster, children's book author, and mystery novelist.

The risk, as it often does in her novels, paid off big time. Maeve married Gordon in 1977, and the two remain happily married to this day. In 1980, they bought a one-bedroom cottage back in Binchy's old hometown of Dalkey. Struggling to make mortgage payments on their new home, Binchy, who had published two collections of her newspaper work and one of short stories, decided to try to sell her first novel, which she'd managed to write in between her newspaper assignments. When her publisher told her that Light A Penny Candle would likely be a bestseller, Maeve remembers her sense of shock. "I had to sit down," she recalls. "I had never even had enough money to pay the telephone bill."

Maeve and her husband still live in that same Dalkey cottage, where they share an office, writing side by side. "All I ever wanted to do," she says, "is to write stories that people will enjoy and feel at home with." She has unquestionably succeeded with that goal. Light A Penny Candle was followed by such bestselling works as Circle of Friends, which was turned into a major motion picture starring Minnie Driver, and Tara Road, an Oprah Book Club selection. Binchy is consistently named one of the most popular writers in readers' polls in England and Ireland, outselling and rated higher than James Joyce. Of this success, Binchy comments with her typical good humor, "If you're going on a plane journey, you're more likely to take one of my stories than Finnegan's Wake."

In addition to her books, Binchy is also a playwright whose works have been staged at The Peacock Theatre of Dublin, and was the author of a hugely popular monthly column called "Maeve's Week," which appeared in The Irish Times for 32 years. A kind of combined gossip, humor, and advice column, it achieved cult status in Ireland and abroad.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

Good To Know

In our interview, Binchy shared some fun facts about herself with us:

"I am a big, confident, happy woman who had a loving childhood, a pleasant career, and a wonderful marriage. I feel very lucky."

"I have been lucky enough to travel a lot, meet great people in many lands. I have liked almost everyone I met along the way."

"I have always believed that life is too short for rows and disagreements. Even if I think I'm right, I would prefer to apologize and remain friends rather than win and be an enemy."

"I live in Ireland near the sea, only one mile from where I grew up -- that's good, since I've known many of my neighbours for between 50-60 years. Gordon and I play chess every day, and we are both equally bad. We play chatty over talkative bad Bridge with friends every week."

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    1. Hometown:
      Dublin, Ireland, and London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 28, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dalkey, a small village outside Dublin, Ireland
    1. Education:
      Holy Child Convent in Killiney; B.A. in history, University College, Dublin, 1960

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Echoes

    I've read almost all of Binchey's novels and this is one of her best. She is very skilled at creating numerous characters and somehow managing to intertwine their stories. This is evident here, with the main characters being Claire and David who are from the same town of Castlebay but from distinctly different upbringings. To put it simply, Claire was raised poor to a family that works round the clock in their little shop, and David comes from money with a doctor as a father. They discover love while in college, as Claire is very bright and won several scholarships to school and David is studying to be a doctor. When Claire discovers she is pregnant, their lives change forever. They believe love will overcome everything in their way, which is a great concept but idealistic. The reality is that being married with a newborn baby can be mundane and demanding. Good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2005

    very disappointing

    I am a big fan of Maeve Binchy and have never been so disappointed. It was a nice read until the end. I do recommend her other novels, and that this one is skipped.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    I am a new reader of Maeve BInchy's book

    I enjoyed the story, however i found the ending to be very dissapointing

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    E

    Echo's Story Chapter One
    —————————————
    Echokit snuggled close to her mother,Silveheart.She was happy in Riverclan and never wanted to leave.But she had to.Her family was large and happy.She was happy.Her siblings,Fishkit,Bluekit,Songkit,and Quietkit were all around her.Echokit snuggled closer to her mother.She told herself that she would be leader one day.She knew.At least,she thought she knew.As the moon rose,the warm comfort of sleep tempted her,and ahe drifted off.
    Morning brought many surprises.Bad ones.Echokit was only one moon old when,well,it happened.She hopped after her siblings when she saw an eunormous hawk.The hawk swooped around and around.Then....it flew straight at Echokit.She didn't know what to do.Or how! She yowled,and her body started trembling."My kit!!!"screamed Silverheart,but Shadeheart held her back."She is meant to do this"hissed Shadeheart,as if he knew something.Shadeheart's eyes glowed red.For real!!Then Echokit remembered the hawk and screamed.Her body shook as the hawk carried her away."Mommy!!"she wriggled,but couldn't get free as the hawk carried her away.The hawk hurt its wing on a tree and dropped Echokit.She landed,and everything was black

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

        This book has been sitting on my TBR pile for quite some tim

        This book has been sitting on my TBR pile for quite some time. The synopsis on the back of the book really drew me in, and thats why I originally bought it. I have never read anything else by the author, but I definitely will now! I really enjoyed Binchy's writing style: so simplistic, yet so detailed. That might sound a bit odd, but her she didn't use overly big words to try to make the story more elegant or classy; she simply wrote her story and it came across beautifully. I really enjoyed the main characters, Clare and David. Clare was a sympathetic character and I felt for her struggles. She was such a sweet girl who wanted more out of her simple life than just getting married off. She worked so hard to get her scholarships and become an independent woman. David, on the other hand, didn't have to work too hard to earn his way to university. He came from an affluent family of the town doctor. Yet he didn't come across as being snobbish or entitled. He enjoyed what he had, but still made the most out of his life. I also really enjoyed the two personalities of Clare and David.
            I was a little disappointed with the ending, however. There isn't a clear ending of what happens in the lives of Clare or David. There are some hints throughout the last third of the book, but I was still unsure of what happened. I can probably guess at the ending, but sometimes I like being more certain as to what occurred. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I can't wait to read more from Maeve Binchy!

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  • Posted June 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Echoes of Better Bunchy Books Past

    I enjoyed this book right up to the end, which ruined the entire book for me. As usual, Binchy's characters include a kindly doctor, his spoiled but dutiful son, mothers who just don't understand, a girl from the shops, rival girls from the gentry, happy useful priests, useless priests, people who aren't doing their duty - etc. There is a not terribly well-developed storyline about the doctor's wife and the shopgirl - did the wife try to cheat the girl or was it an oversight, and what were her reasons for not saying, oops, I forgot to pay you?

    The book all swirls to the end of the book, so I won't give away anything else. However, I will say that at the end of the book, I just felt really sad about the poor, crappy lives we all have to live.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2009

    Thought Provoking

    I found it hard to get into Echoes at first, but once I got past the first section I couldn't put it down! The characters were very relatable and I found that I was able to empathize with them easily, especially the main character, Clare. I thought it was a great story until I got to about the last 100 pgs; I was expecting more of a love story that ended happily, and less of a story that ended in a broken home. I liked the story but I just kept wishing that David would have been able to control himself a little bit more, and that Clare could have controlled herself a little less. I was also really sad about the death at the end. Though the ending could have been a little happier I thought that overall it was a good read. I would definitely pick up Binchey again; she is a woman with great insight into the human condition.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2005

    A Favorite

    I first read this book several years ago, and have now read it 5 or 6 times. It is an absolute favorite. Maeve Binchy always creates fascinating characters, but Claire O'Brien is my favorite. She is unique for her awkwardness and honesty. She is a scholar but she is so fun to read about. Part of the beauty of this book is that Binchy dares to give it a somewhat less than happy ending. Besides Claire, there are so many great, rich characters in this book. I have read every Binchy book, and this is my favorite.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2005

    First time Maeve Binchy reader.

    It is the first time I have ever read a book by this author. I personally believe that the writing was excellent, but the ending of the story ruined it for me. I believe that David should have suffered at least a little for his betrayal and that Clare should have a little more spunk.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2004

    Not the Best Binchy Novel

    This is my third Binchy novel. After enjoying Tara Road and The Glass lake, this one was a bit disappointing. The ending really bothered me. I felt nothing was resolved. Skip this one and move on to other Binchy's. I do love her style.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    Maeve's best

    I thought this was Maeve's best book yet. I have ready many of her novels and though have not loved all of them, I loved this novel as much as Circle of Friends. I couldn't put the book down and it kept me intrigued until the end (regardless you are left to guess the outcome)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2001

    Rich Binchy Fare

    This may be the last Maeve Binchy book I've read. Like all the other ones (Evening Class, Glass Lake, Copper Beech, etc) she did a great job creating real although not always sympathetic characters. This book adds yet another dimension to Irish life that Binchy excels at describing, drawing readers into the hearts and souls of the characters. I wished it did not end....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2000

    Echoes- Twists and turns of Fate

    I read Echoes recently during the summer. I must say that although this was not one of Ms. Binchy's best works it certainly was one that held my attention once I got into it. It did have a slow start in the beginning but captivated me once the story was in full swing. Clare O'brien though not always a tower of absolute strength in matters of the heart was a character that one could learn some valuable lessons from. This a book that would recommend reading as well as some of Ms. Binchy's other works,London Transports, Tara Road.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2000

    TAKE ECHOES OFF THE MARKET!!!!!!

    This is my first book by Maeve Binchy, and there is no way in haydes would I recomend it. If I could have given it a zero star I would've. First,Clare has absolutely no spine. She allowed David to walk all over her, when she could have had another man who would have treated her better. Second, when they tell each other of their love, they couldn't have done it in a more boring fashion. Last, but not least, the story of Clare's teacher, just does not have anything to do with the rest of the book. If I had known how bad this book was, I would not have bought it, now, I'm wishing that someone will just take it away from me. All in all this book gets a two-thumbs down.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted July 6, 2010

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    Posted October 30, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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