Excerpt from Tara Road by Maeve Binchy, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Tara Road

by Maeve Binchy

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy X
Tara Road by Maeve Binchy
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 1999, 502 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2000, 502 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"I bet I will," Ria said, but she didn't feel as confident as she sounded. There was a stinging behind her eyes.

She was sure she didn't look too bad. Her friends at school said she was very lucky to have all that dark curly hair and blue eyes. She wasn't fat or anything and her spots weren't out of control. But people didn't pick her out; she didn't have any kind of sparkle like other girls in the class did.

Hilary saw her despondent face. "Listen, you're fine, you've got naturally curly hair, that's a plus for a start. And you're small, fellows like that. It will get better. Sixteen is the worst age, no matter what they tell you." Sometimes Hilary could be very nice indeed. Usually on the nights she wanted her handbag left on the landing.

And of course Hilary was right. It did get better. Ria left school and like her elder sister took a secretarial course. There were plenty of fellows, it turned out. Nobody particularly special, but she wasn't in any rush. She would possibly travel the world before she settled down to marry.

"Not too much traveling," her mother warned.

Nora Johnson thought that men might regard travel as fast. Men preferred to marry safer, calmer women. Women who didn't go gallivanting too much. It was only sensible to have advance information about men, Nora Johnson told her daughters. This way you could go armed into the struggle. There was a hint that she may not have been adequately informed herself. The late Mr. Johnson, though he had a bright smile and wore his hat at a rakish angle, was not a good provider. He had not been a believer in life insurance policies. Nora Johnson worked in a dry cleaners and lived in a shabby, run-down housing estate. She did not want the same thing for her daughters when the time came.

"When do you think the time will come?" Ria asked Hilary.

"For what?" Hilary was frowning a lot at her reflection in the mirror. The thing about applying blusher was that you had to get it just right. Too much and you looked consumptive, too little and you looked dirty and as if you hadn't washed your face.

"I mean, when do you think either of us will get married? You know the way Mam's always talking about when the time comes."

"Well I hope it comes to me first, I'm the elder. You're not even to consider doing it ahead of me."

"No, I have nobody in mind. It's just I'd love to be able to look into the future and see where we'll be in two years' time. Wouldn't it be great if we could have a peep."

"Well, go to a fortune-teller then, if you're that anxious."

"They don't know anything." Ria was scornful.

"It depends. If you get the right one they do. A lot of the girls at work found this great one. It would make you shiver the way she knows things."

"You've never been to her?" Ria was astounded.

"Yes, I have actually, just for fun. The others were all going, I didn't want to be the only one disapproving."

"And?"

"And what?"

"What did she tell you? Don't be mean, go on." Ria's eyes were dancing.

"She said I would marry within two years. . . ."

"Great, can I be the bridesmaid?"

"And that I'd live in a place surrounded by trees and that his name began with an M, and that we'd both have good health all our lives."

"Michael, Matthew, Maurice, Marcello?" Ria rolled them all around to try them out. "How many children?"

"She said no children," Hilary said.

"You don't believe her, do you?"

"Of course I do, what's the point giving up a week's wages if I don't believe her."

"You never paid that!"

"She's good. You know, she has the gift."

"Come on."

Excerpted from Tara Road by Maeve Binchy. Copyright© 1998 by Maeve Binchy. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Grace
    by Paul Lynch
    Harrowing. Gorgeous. Epic. Grace, Paul Lynch's coming of age novel about a young woman, is set ...
  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Summer Wives
    by Beatriz Williams

    An electrifying postwar fable of love, class, power and redemption set on an island off the New England coast.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.