REVIEW: THE ORPHAN CHOIR, BY SOPHIE HANNAH

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The sound is loud, coming from the next-door neighbor’s house, and it has jolted Louise Beeston right out of her sleep. It is Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and it is the song that usually starts it all. The weekend music blasting cruelly into her bedroom. No matter how many times she has politely requested that the neighbor, Justin Clay, please turn it down.

Her husband Stuart is nonchalant. He is not even pretending to be supportive. In fact, the noise doesn’t really bother him. He can sleep through anything.

So begins the saga of the noise nuisance that will drive Louise to take drastic steps. But more will transpire before that happens. Louise will call the police, who will refer her to environmental health. A report will be made. And steps will be taken. Or so she believes.

Meanwhile, as time passes, something changes. The music is now that of choir boys singing, and it appears at odd times. And there is no way to prove the sounds are even occurring, as nobody else hears them.

The Orphan Choir is a disturbing story of what happens when one woman desperately misses her seven-year-old son, Joseph, who is a boarder at Saviour College, run by a Dr. Freeman. The story is a mix of madness, despair, and ghostly warnings. Even as I kept imagining one scenario, another would appear. I thought I would discover that the husband and Dr. Freeman were playing cruel tricks on Louise. But I was wrong.

What does Louise do to try to escape the noise pollution next door? How will her new second home at Swallowfield give her the peace she desires? Why does she suddenly realize that the noise is not the issue, but that more is going on, and that there will be no peace to be found anywhere? A surreal set of events unfold, and finally, at the very end, we realize what has transpired. 4 stars.

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12 thoughts on “REVIEW: THE ORPHAN CHOIR, BY SOPHIE HANNAH

    • How wonderful! I would love to hear her speak. From her photo, she looks friendly and warm. I have enjoyed many of her books, but this one was different than the rest. Her suspense mysteries focusing on missing persons and murders are her usual fare. Thanks for stopping by, Kathy.

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