“Through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir unfolds the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of a village choir during World War II.”
I loved, loved, loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and I’m hoping this has a similar vibe.
Out last week in the UK and in March in the US, I’m hoping First Love might be this year’s Dept of Speculation in terms of a concise and beautifully painted portrait of a marriage in distress — and also hoping as always that the American version isn’t, well too Americanised. Plus, being a writer in my, well, let’s charitably call it mid 30s, with a bit of an unrequited love thing going on for an older man, I think it might be just my thing.
“Neve is a writer in her mid-30s married to an older man, Edwyn. For now they are in a place of relative peace, but their past battles have left scars. As Neve recalls the decisions that led her to this marriage, she tells of other loves and other debts, from her bullying father and her self-involved mother to a musician who played her and a series of lonely flights from place to place. Drawing the reader into the battleground of her relationship, Neve spins a story of helplessness and hostility, an ongoing conflict in which both husband and wife have played a part. But is this, nonetheless, also a story of love?”
Life got in the way this week, so I wasn’t able to finish a novel, but I’m very nearly done with Unconventional (see below). Which, incidentally, was waiting for me last Sunday night when I got home, so it wasn’t true after all that I didn’t acquire any books last week.
In the Queue
Full review to come next week, but I’ll be surprised if Unconventional doesn’t make it into my top 10 books of the year. I happily binge read for hours over the weekend, and it takes a special kind of novel for me to happily do that. It’s so good. I really hope that it makes it over to the US. It’s VERY British — lots of awkward moments where I feel like Rainbow Rowell or Nicola Yoon would have put breathtaking kisses and spontaneous fireworks, but that makes it all the more endearing, and come on, US publishers: have some faith in your teenagers. I bet they’d enjoy reading about a different culture, and it could lead to some interesting discussions.