Book Reviews

The Orphan Choir (Hammer) by Sophie Hannah

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List Price: £8.99


Paperback: 336 Pages.

Published: 10 October 2013 by Hammer

ISBN: 0099580020

EAN: 9780099580027

Louise's seven year old son has been sent away to boarding school against her wishes, and she misses him desperately.

And her neighbour from hell is keeping her awake at night by playing loud, intrusive music.

So when the chance comes to move to the country, she jumps at it as a way of saving her sanity. Only it doesn't.

Because the music has followed her. Except this time, it's choral music sung by a choir of children only she can see and hear ...


2.0 Stars2.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Poor Plot and Unpleasant Characters

Louise is having a running feud with her neighbour about him playing his music too loudly. It begins as rock music on weekends and progresses to sinister choir boy music which no one else seems to hear.

If you are looking for a suspense ghost story of the standard of "The Woman in Black" then do not look here despite the assurances on the cover. This is a very poorly written book where the suspense totally failed to materialise and when it was finished I was left with the feeling that I wished I hadn't bothered.

Louise is not a nice person at all. She seems to be quite neurotic, over possessive of her son and untrusting of her husband. She thinks nothing of manipulating her husband in order to get what she wants including a second home. Her son Joseph has been accepted in a prestigious choir school but all she can see is that the choir master is plotting to keep her son away from her. She sees maliciousness in everybody's actions including her husband's. Her husband, Stuart, is not a great deal nicer as a character. They argue about getting the house sandblasted but he goes ahead anyway. He doesn't support her in asking the neighbour to keep the noise down & even pretends to hear noises that she hears in order to get a quiet life. If she was that distressed about her son boarding at school why did either of them let it happen? Why doesn't anyone suggest counselling for her separation anxieties? In fact why does no one suggest any form of help or counselling for her frankly perilous state of mind? Stuart seems to work away a great deal but he doesn't seem to have any concern for his wife alone in the house inĀ  a terrible state - she appears to be too ill and tramautised by the whole music incident to go to work for several months but at no point seeks medical help.

The plot itself is poor. The Orphan Choir don't make an appearance until half way through the book and even that is just a reference to Louise hearing music. We never really get told what it is all about and the details of the choir get rushed into the last few chapters with no explanation. I like ghost stories but there is usually an historical explanation for the ghostly experiences which the characters track down - none of this occurs. This was just a ghostly choir which appeared out of nowhere with no history, sightings by others etc.

There are several loose ends left at the end of this book including a strange ghostly appearance by an environmental health officer which I couldn't make fit into the story at all.

This was an all round rather poor book which I would not recommend. It is a great shame as Sophie Hannah has written some good books but this is not one of them.

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