Edward's Reviews > La's Orchestra Saves the World

La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith
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Oct 18, 10

bookshelves: fiction
Recommended to Edward by: book group
Read in September, 2010

Apparently, readers familiar with the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series are somewhat disappointed by this book. Not having read the series, I wasn't disappointed at all and was even delighted. That might seem odd considering the story takes place in England in the years leading up to and through WWII.

Lavender is a rather ordinary heroine. She maintains her poise and perseveres despite setbacks and unexpected events. I think that's the whole point. She embodies her country's spirit as she makes her small contribution to the Women's Land Army by planting a garden at her country home and helping a local farmer for several hours every day. The little orchestra of townspeople and local servicemen she organizes is not so good but great for morale.

To me, the strongest characters in the book are Tim, the energetic RAF officer who inspires La to create the orchestra, and Feliks, the injured Polish pilot that Tim finds work for. Their stories, along with the lesser ones, are the world in action around La. She works and does her duty but being a woman of her time and age (she's too old to enlist to study nursing) her options are limited.

Her stoic determination and her stolid resilience over the years, endeared her to me. In fact, all the characters are so well written and believable they are likable. The whole book is well written. The style is easily understandable making for a quick read and a clear conclusion.
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