Edward McCourt's novels, for the most part, sank quickly into oblivion. This is due in part to the lukewarm critical reception he received by Desmond Pacey and others. Yet McCourt's novels and stories can be compared favourably to his contemporaries -- Mitchell, Layton, Ross, and Davies. He is usually labelled as a realist, but his plots and characterisation frequently deviate from the accepted realistic mode. His writing is an attempt to "effect some compromise" between realism and the Romance. Two of McCourt's novels -- Music at the Close and Walk Through the Valley -- are especially notable. There are parallels between McCourt's rigidly religious upbringing and the divisiveness and polarities he examines with great subtlety in his writing.