La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith

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La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith

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Buy La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: La is a young, well-educated widow who finds herself doing farm work as part of her war efforts. When she meets a gentle Polish man she has to reconcile her feelings for him with her doubts about his past. It's a cosy, uplifting read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Abacus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0349122052

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This is a charming stand-alone story that is set, for the most part, during World War Two deep in the English countryside. La is a young, well-educated widow who finds herself doing farm work as part of her war efforts and then starts a small orchestra as an aid to lift the spirits of the local airmen and the civilians living in the area. Through this, she meets a gentle Polish man, Feliks, and finds herself struggling with her feelings towards him as well as her suspicions about his past.

I am always excited when I discover a new book by McCall Smith, and I wasn't disappointed with this story. It's a stand-alone work, rather than being part of the Mma Ramotswe, Isabel Dalhousie or Scotland Street series. He captures the feel of war-torn Britain beautifully, but the book isn't depressing or disturbing. On the surface, it seems a simple story, but as with all his writing, this is a deception. His characters are beautifully drawn and they always seem very alive to me as a reader. La is an interesting heroine, but I found that what I most enjoyed was how McCall Smith evoked the feel of the period through the story. I don't think this book will have the broad appeal that he's had with his other books, but if you'd like a cosy, uplifting read then this is worth a go!

Another book which brings to life the effect the war had on the country is The Girl From World's End by Leah Fleming although it's not of the same quality as this book. We think you will enjoy Chance Developments: Unexpected Love Stories by Alexander McCall Smith but we're less certain about The Forever Girl which isn't one of AMS's best books. We also have a review of another standalone from AMS.

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Buy La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon.com.


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Joan Smith said:

Yes I liked this review. I had just sent in my own review of the book to the local paper and I thought I would check out what other people had written. Having lived in England at that time,although very much younger than La,I was gratified at how McCall Smith was able to portray the atmospere and feelings of the time. I was taken right back.

I do these reviews for the local library under the heading of, "On the Shelves.

Joan Smith