Book Review : The Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah

May 27, 2013 Book review 0 ★★★½

A creepy ghost story that spooked me and sent shivers up and down my scaredy-cat spine!

Title : The Orphan Choir
Author : Sophie Hannah
My Rating : 3.5 stars

I have to admit I don’t read a lot of horror or ghost stories so my reaction to this book might be different to those who read a lot of them. I’m a big fan of Sophie Hannah’s psychological thrillers and I was excited to read her attempt at horror.

Susannah’s son is attending a prestigious choral boarding school and as he is only 7 years old, she is missing him desperately and she can’t help but worry about him. And OMG, only 7 years old, isn’t that cruel, I can’t understand how any parent could do that! Susannah doesn’t really want him there at all but her husband has convinced her that it is what their son Joseph wants and how it will set him up for a future career in music.

Their house should be deadly quiet without their lively son around but it’s not. They have a next door neighbour who loves to play loud, thudding music late at night. After some angry confrontations, he switches to playing choral music at night just to really taunt Susannah. So she ups sticks and moves to a house in the country for some peace and quiet. But to her horror and disbelief she is still plagued by the sounds of a children’s choir. …

Initially, I found the plot slow paced but as you get further into the book, you see it is all building up to go in a certain route. You need to stick with it but glancing back at the pages after I finished, I could appreciate how every chapter was moving the story in the right direction.

I did have some holes to pluck with the plot though. How did they afford a second house in the country, especially in an exclusive development and how did they do it all so quickly. I like to know details like this as otherwise it seems unrealistic and it didn’t seem like they had an excess of money as a few chapters back, as they are getting a friend to do work on their first house at ‘mates rates’. And also her husband mentions that they are more in debt than Greece!

Also in their country retreat noise is forbidden. Even children shouting and screaming by the pool is frowned on, I’d love to know how that is enforced. It just doesn’t seem practical to me.

Apart from these two issues, I really enjoyed this book. Sophie Hannah is a genius at creating and building tension and this book is no different. Near the end, I was flying through the book with my nerve endings on edge as I just wanted the climax to come so I could discover exactly what was going on. I only partially guessed the plot so that was another plus. And I was suitable spooked but not downright terrified so as a ghost story this worked perfectly for me.

 
Recommended to anyone looking for a scare or for anyone looking to tip their toe into the horror/ghost story genre pool.

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Bookish Chat: Do you read Ghost Stories, do you have any in a similar vein that you would recommend to me?

three-half-stars

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