Contact me at because I'm always up for a natter about anything. Well, mostly.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Book Review: The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah

This book opens with Louise visiting her neighbour to complain about his loud music, a regular habit. To her dismay, he adds choral music to his repertoire, just to mock her. Her husband, Stuart, is frustrated with her inability to ignore it but there are other things at play - their seven year old son is at boarding school, against the wishes of his mother. In order to be in a prestigious choir, Joseph has to live at the school. Louise misses him terribly and wants him home, but home has become a building site as Stuart has insisted on sand-blasting their house. When an opportunity to buy a second home in a gated community in the country comes up, Louise jumps at the chance, eager to take Joseph there over the Christmas holidays. However, the choral music, sung by children, follows her there...

For the most part, I didn't find The Orphan Choir as scary as I thought I would, with the exception of a few creepy scenes. That all changed with the last eighty pages or so. At that point, the novel got extremely claustrophobic and I needed to get to the end before I could rest. I finished this over a week ago and yet it's still haunting me - and, yes, I mean that literally. I've been unable to stop thinking about it.

Louise is a good protagonist, stationed somewhere on the margin between believable and losing it. The pressures on her at the beginning of the novel are neatly examined and make complete sense. Perhaps that's the major strength of this book - there's a logical reason for each step and it isn't until the final pages that the reader understands where these have led to.

I won't say any more because I don't want to ruin the story. However, it is a very good read, short enough to devour in one or two sittings. Recommended as an example of Sophie Hannah's versatility. 

No comments: