Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: La's Orchestra Saves the the World

Title:  La's Orchestra Saves the World
Author:  Alexander McCall Smith
Publication Date:  2008
Publisher:  Random House, Inc.
ISBN:  9780307473042

Synopsis (from
Set mainly during WWII in England, this quiet story about a woman who makes a new life for herself falls short of bestseller Smith's best work. After La Stone's husband leaves her for another woman in France, La retreats to a small cottage in Suffolk given to her by her mortified in-laws. The isolation and peacefulness suit La, who joins the Women's Land Army soon after the outbreak of war. When Feliks Dabrowski, an attractive Polish ex-pat, is assigned to the same farm where La is assisting with chores, La is attracted to him, despite her suspicions that Feliks hasn't been fully truthful about his past. La's idea to launch an amateur local orchestra to boost morale proves an unexpected success and helps give her purpose during the war's darkest days.

My Thoughts
Although I have never read any of Alexander McCall Smith's (author of bestselling Ladies #1 Detective Agency series) books before, I was immediately intrigued by the statement on the front of the book which read "A metaphor for the tranformative power of music . . ."  As a music therapist, I am immediately drawn in by anything that discusses the power of music and how music can effect change in people. 
The story is set in England during WW II.  Lavender Stone, known to her friends as La, experiences the breakup of her marriage.  She moves from England to rural Suffolk to start a new life.  As she becomes involved in the war movement, she decides to start a small community orchestra to build morale and bring people together in solidarity during the difficult time of war. 

"She moved to Mozart, because he had the greatest healing power.  The music reminded her:  love and los were inextricably linked.  This world was a world of suffering; music helpd to make that suffering bearable."

I really enjoyed this book.  Alexander McCall Smith's writing can be described as none other than simply beautiful.  His words are graceful and almost left me feeling somehow peaceful and relaxed as I read. 

I do wish there would have been slightly more focus on the orchestra and the role of music in the lives of these people during a time of war rather than on the relationships, but all in all a good read!

Overall Rating:  :)  :)  :)  :)  Liked it!

And remember . . . 
Books Are Life,

1 comment:

  1. I've also never read Alexander McCall Smith's books before but have heard so much about his popular series. This sounds fascinating! I think I'll try his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books first but I'm adding this to my TBR list. Thanks for the review :)