The Choir on Hope Streetby Annie Lyons

Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 6th 2017 by HQ

5 Stars

Synopsis: 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!

My Review: Wow, this book was so much more than I anticipated. It covers a roller coaster of emotions with real world situations. Each chapter alternates with Natalie and Caroline, the two main characters, telling the story. They are very different women. Natalie is fun, loves to joke around, is a children’s author who has a very good relationship with her eight year old son Woody. Unfortunately, her marriage falls apart in the book. Caroline, is a perfectionist. She is very closed emotionally and wants to run everything. She is the president of the PTA and it is her goal to save the Hope Street Community Centre. Her family is well off financially, but she and her daughter Matilda (Tilly) do not have a very close relationship. That is one regret that Caroline has. Caroline is also dealing with her mother who has dimentia.

Even though their children are friends, Caroline and Natalie do not seem to know one another. They meet when Caroline knocks Natalie over by accident outside the school gates. Natalie is thinking about her marriage and not paying attention. Caroline offers to drive Natalie home and they discover they both live on the same street. Shortly after this, Caroline asks/demands/persuades Natalie and her friend Doly to join her committee to save Hope Street Community Centre. When they decide to start a Community Choir to draw attention to the campaign, Guy enters the story. He is the music teacher at their children’s school and he agrees to conduct the choir. There is something mysterious about him. He looks familiar to Caroline, yet he is very closed and does not want to discuss his past. The story evolves from there.

I do not want to say anymore about the plot at this point except to say that the story moves quickly and I wanted to keep reading to see what was going to happen next. The author was able to tell the stories of the personal lives and problems the characters were dealing with in an entertaining way, yet not diminishing the emotional impact. Getting to know the characters has me changing my opinions of them throughout the story. I did not like Caroline at the beginning. She seemed very selfish and self-involved. She was rather snobbish and very unlikable. As the story went on, she changed dramatically and became one of my favourite characters. Natalie was likable from the beginning and I continued to feel badly for her, yet not always agree with her decisions. The secondary characters were quirky, kind, loyal and funny. This story focuses on that idea of loyalty and friendship. It also dealt with handling whatever life throws at you, persevering, listening to others and not being afraid to ask or accept help from your friends. The book reminded me that we all deal with different things in life and it is important to remember that and not become too self-involved. The idea of music helping to relax, soothe and assist in finding solutions was wonderful We all need more music in our lives.

I highly recommend reading this book and thank my Goodreads’ friend who recommended it to me. As she said, The Choir on Hope Street isn’t just about saving a hall, it’s about the coming together of a community, it’s about the personal journey each member has taken, it’s about Family and Friendship, it’s about having faith and strength even when you get knocked down. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I would like to thank the author and pubisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book, it was a delight.