2 June 2017

Book Review: The Choir on Hope Street by Annie Lyons

"The best things in life happen when you least expect them

Nat’s husband has just said the five words no one wants to hear – ‘I don’t love you anymore’.

Picture-perfect Caroline has to welcome her estranged mother into her house after she was forced out of an exclusive nursing home.

Living on the same street these two women couldn’t be more different. Until the local community centre is threatened, galvanising Caroline and the people of Hope Street into action. But when the only way to save the centre is to form a community choir – no one, least of all Nat, expects the results…

This spring, hope is coming!"

Rating: 4.5/5

Another exciting eBook I was keen to read this year was the latest book from author Annie Lyons, called The Choir on Hope Street. It isn't Annie's first novel, but it is the first one I have read by this author. I had heard good things on Twitter about this book, and as someone who used to sing in choirs a lot when I was younger, I was looking forward to reading this one because it sounded just like my cup of tea. I have to confess to not being completely sold on the front cover, but I ploughed into it regardless.

The story tells the tale of two women, in very different places in their lives but thrown together for one cause. Nat has been left by her husband, who has suddenly decided he doesn't love her anymore. She's devastated, and doesn't know how she's going to get through, sure that he will realise he's made a mistake. Then there's another mum at the school, Caroline, who from the outside seems to have the perfect life. But when her mother's nursing home says Caroline has to take her mother in as they can't cope anymore, her perfect life is thrown into disarray, and Caroline is forced to face up to some serious home truths. Together, however, the women are determined to save the local community centre, and set about raising some serious funds, starting with the new Hope Street Choir. Will the woman overcome their personal obstacles to save the centre for the good of everyone?

I really enjoyed this book, and found the writing and the pace of the book to be very enjoyable throughout. I love how the story followed two very different women, united by one special cause. Too many local centres are being shut down these days due to lack of funding, and the way the ladies decide they have to save it and work together is very admirable, although a very big task! The creation of the Hope Street Choir sounds such fun, something I would love to do myself, and attracted all sorts of local people, some of which were fun to read about.

My favourite of the two women was Nat. the woman who has been left broken-hearted by her husband, and now has to raise her son as single parent, a daunting prospect for anyone. I admired how strong she was, how determined she was for her son to keep his relationship with his father, despite their personal upheaval. It was hard to read her upset, but I admired how determined she was to save the community centre, and keep her mind focused. I did struggle to warm to Caroline, found her quite stand-offish and didn't like her attitude towards her sick elderly mother. As the story goes on, things are revealed which explain why Caroline is how she is, but for me it just sat uneasily. However, I think her story will probably resonate with a few readers. Outwardly, she seemed to have it all - head of the PTA, handsome husband, beautiful home, but inside, she was falling apart, especially regarding her mother. Annie Lyons' writing about Caroline's mothers suffering, and the effect it has on the family was so well written, and was an emotional read.

The best part of the book, though, was the choir and their determination to win a competition which would secure funding to help save the community centre. I loved the competitive nature between the choirs, there was one in particular that did make me laugh out loud! I actually wish there was more of this throughout the book, but I did understand that the personal stories of Nat and Caroline were the main focus and obviously explained a lot about these characters. Annie Lyon's writing was excellent, she created a warm-hearted story with believable characters, and I found myself rooting for the choir to win and save the centre! I'll definitely be looking out for more from Annie Lyons, this was a great book, and one I can certainly recommend.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chloe, this looks like a goodie. Please bring this over to Books You Loved: June. Cheers from Carole's Chatter