Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

The Olive Garden Choir – Leah Fleming – 3*#Review #Friendship #Family #Secrets #Romance #GreekIslands @HoZ_Books @LeahleFleming

On the beautiful island of Santaniki, close to Crete, it’s not all white sands and sunshine. When retired bookseller Ariadne Blunt suggests the English residents form a choir, there are groans of resistance. After a little persuasion, the group gather in Ariadne’s olive garden to rehearse, but each member of this choir has their own anxieties and secrets.

Ariadne’s partner, Hebe, is in failing health. Clive struggles to accept the loss of his wife while Della, the Pilates teacher, drinks too much and Chloe, Queen Bee of the village society, faces a family dilemma. Then there is Mel, the real songbird amongst them, English wife of a taverna owner who hides her talent until the choir inspires her to raise her voice once more.

In this tiny community, the choir brings the residents together like never before in a bittersweet tale of love and loss – and how life can begin again when you let go of the past.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The setting for this story is sublime and beautifully described, making it the perfect holiday read. The themes are popular at the moment, a group of people drawn together by necessity, in this case, they are Ex-Pats on a small Greek Island, who need a distraction and are intrigued by the creation of an island choir.

There are lots of characters, and through short chapters, the reader shares their stories, finding out why they are on the island, what motivates them, their emotional state, and what they are hiding from the others. I like following the fortunes of many characters, but for some readers, this can be off-putting.

This is an emotional story and you empathise with the characters, not all are likeable, but their flaws make them realistic and relatable. The choir is a good medium for bringing the community together, and whilst not a new theme, it is used to good effect in this book.

The book also explores contemporary issues, focusing on the humanity angle and shows how small communities react.

A nice mix of characters and a well-told story, in a vividly described setting, something for those who read to escape.

Posted in Book Review

3* Review: All Together Now – Gill Hornby

25437042Blurb -2The small town of Bridgeford is in crisis. The high street is half empty, businesses are closing and the idea of civic pride seems old-fashioned to the commuters rushing home from work. Somehow, it seems to have lost its heart.

But there is one thing that might just bring the town together: music. The Bridgeford Community Choir has a chance of winning the county championship. First though, the small band of singers must find a lot of new members and a whole new sound.

Enter Tracey – one of life’s soloists, and hiding a secret past; Bennett – a church choir refugee, baffled by the modern world. And Jazzy – who sees her voice as her passport straight out of town to a future of fame and fortune. Can they really fit in with dependable old regulars like Annie? Can they learn to work together, save their singing group and maybe even their community?

Buy Links -2Amazon UK
Amazon

My Review

All Together NowThe first chapter of this story captures the reader’s attention and makes you want to read on. Sadly, the rest of the story doesn’t fulfil its initial promise.

The storyline of a community choir bringing an ailing town together is a topical but the characters are hard to empathise with and lack the complexity, to draw you into their world.
The pacing is slow, especially in the first half of the story, which lacks the page turning ability, a longer novel needs.

The realistic dialogue and visual imagery, made me want to finish the story. The ending, although not a surprise, does provide a satisfactory conclusion.

I received a copy of this book from Little, Brown Book Group via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

All Together Now by Gill Hornby

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


All Together Now by Gill Hornby

Gill Hornby

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