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Publisher's Summary

The Beech Tree introduces you to the lives of those who visited the tree and shared their lives, their loves, their hopes and dreams, beneath the tree's dark green canopy...and their curious, inexplicable connection to one another. The listeners are introduced to Johnny and Margo, the first characters to visit the tree, just before Johnny ships off to fight in The Great War in 1918. We follow Johnny and Margo, and also Johnny's lifelong albeit socially taboo friendship with his friend, "Bullet Joe" Rogan, a pitcher in the Negro Leagues. Johnny introduces his granddaughter, Debby, to the tree in 1957, an era of bobby socks, roller-skating carhops, and Elvis music, and Debby meets Mason in 1967's Summer of Love, just before Mason is drafted to fight in Vietnam. For 30 years, Debby wonders whatever became of the boy who changed her life. Then she finds out.

©2016 Don Phelan (P)2017 Don Phelan

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Clever multi-generational story well told

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed The Beech Tree immensely. The beech tree ties 100+ years of intertwined relationships together in fine fashion. The characters are well-developed and interesting, and they relate believably over the generations to create a story that evokes a feeling of heritage. Plus, the author creates frequent clever turns of phrase that make me smile.<br/><br/>The narrator has a consistently warm, anticipatory manner. He obviously likes telling the story, making me like hearing it.<br/><br/>This is a fine audiobook, well told. I strongly recommend The Beech Tree.

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Great tale of several intertwined lives.

If you could sum up The Beech Tree in three words, what would they be?

Lifelike. Interesting. Familiar.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bullet. He brought out the best in Johnny.

Have you listened to any of James Conlan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Who was the most memorable character of The Beech Tree and why?

Mason. He was a very complex person.

Any additional comments?

James Conlan was masterful in assuming the different characters seamlessly. Really put you into each scene.

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  • Story

You'll laugh, cry, stand up and cheer.

The Beech Tree is not a story about a tree; it is the story about people, about their relationships, about their hopes, dreams, failures and triumphs. Phelan puts you there, in the center of the scenes, and you experience the story as if you are one of the book's quirky characters.

It is a story of life, friendship, forgiveness and joy.

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A good listen

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Woven in among the many characters and story lines, are some great reminders of Universal Truth. <br/><br/>In some ways, it speaks to how far we've come as a society while at the same time showing how far we have yet to go.<br/><br/>But it's not about those 'truths' or societal measurement, it's a good story about interesting people.

Any additional comments?

I learned a lot about the history of the West Michigan Lakeshore that even given that I've lived nearby for almost 20-years, I didn't know. That was a nice bonus.

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One tree, many stories

Phelan's story weaves the lives of many people over the span of a century. It's rich in character and rewarding in its conclusion. Conlan does a fine job of bringing the stories to life. It's like being there when he tells it.