I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Little Brown Book Group on June 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Humour, Realistic Fiction, Women's Fiction
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
Four strangers in the midst of difficult life transitions find friendship, purpose, and perfect pitch in in this heartfelt comic novel.
In the small English village of St. Ambrose, the members of the Bridgeford Community Choir have little in common. But when their singing coach dies unexpectedly before a big contest, the motley group must join forces -- and voices -- in pursuit of an impossible-seeming goal. Featuring an eclectic cast of characters -- including a mother suffering from empty nest syndrome, a middle-aged man who has just lost his job and his family, and a 19-year-old waitress who dreams of reality TV stardom -- ALL TOGETHER NOW is a poignant and charming novel about small town life, community, falling in love, and the big rewards of making a small change.
Reviewed by Joanne
*I received an ARC in exchange for review*
The premise of this book intrigued me so when I was asked to read and review it, I jumped at the chance. I do love a good old British comedy, so I was looking forward to getting started.
I would like to say that I was hooked from the very beginning, but I’d be lying if I did. In fact, it took me well over half of the book to really get in to it. I would normally have given up before then, I usually give it to around 30% in and then put it down if I’m not feeling it, but there had been a few flashes where I thought ‘ooh it’s getting going now’ so I persevered.
My main issue was that I found it hard to concentrate on the many characters, to follow who was who, and what their relevance to the story was. They weren’t a particularly likeable bunch, if I’m honest. Tracey had her head in the clouds where her son Billy was concerned – she was quite a liberal parent, content to let him take advantage of her and her home. Bennett was a mouse where his family was concerned, I don’t know how he had put up with his overbearing wife Sue for so long, and then there was Annie, who seemed to be suffering from empty-nest syndrome. There were a whole lot more characters, but for me those are the main ones.
So, yes, it did feel a bit tedious and I found my interest waning at times, but then, like Tracey’s attempts at building the choir, it all started to come together. Bennett found his voice, in more ways than one, and once her son was finally propelled off the sofa, and into a new venture, Tracey excelled in her new role as choir leader. The mismatch of characters surprised themselves as talents they didn’t realise they had came to the forefront, and I found myself rooting for them at the end. I was soon chuckling at their antics, I loved how their little arguments were so very British, but most of all the sense of community amongst them was so endearing.
I could picture this book doing well as a movie or a play, I think it would actually be better watching it on the big screen, or on stage. The final scenes were very rousing, it left me with that ‘feel good sensation’ you get at the end of movies, where you want to burst into a round of applause as the credits roll.