Elsie is in her mid-twenties and helps run a retro ice-cream parlour in the the English seaside town of Brighton. She’s clearly recovering from a personal tragedy and finding her way. When she takes a chance and belts out a song at a beach-side cafe piano, former 80s rocker Woody Jensen witnesses people’s reactions and convinces her to help him form a choir, singing modern songs and glee-style mash-ups. Meantime Elsie’s hippy father has set her up with a nice new guy, Olly, but continued chance encounters with a more mysterious man called Torin are unsettling her. When the choir grows and members start to gel together, lives are changed.
Kooks for your Kindle?– Plenty to love here, a well rounded selection of real life people. Cher, who owns Sundae and Cher, the ice-cream parlour, is an ample-bosomed divorcée whose charms bring many a middle aged man to the premises. Woody is a dinosaur of rock, lots of musical vision and charm but not terribly grounded in the real world and still causing mayhem. It was nice the way he understood Elsie though. Elsie’s two kindly older sisters have quite a bit going on here too, but are supportive of their hurt little sister while having their own dramas. The choir members are a varied bunch, and initially quite disparate; fortunately Elsie has a gift for handling people.
The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– It’s difficult to discuss Elsie’s character without mentioning what’s obviously happened to her, but that’s not explicitly revealed until the fifth chapter. The pot full of notes encouraging Elsie to move on with her life were a bit of a giveaway though! She’s a tough cookie and pleasantly decisive. She does have a tendency to be rescued by Torin, but only because he has an almost preternatural ability to show up at the exact time and place, Elsie’s not the annoyingly helpless type.
Painting a picture for your paperback?– Brighton is almost a character in the book, the summery lifestyle, the famous pier, the quirky shopping, and the many cafés and pubs are a big part of the story. It’s just the kind of place in which you can imagine a kitsch, retro ice-cream parlour in the style of an American diner, and the flavours described are mostly mouth watering. With the obvious exception of… tomato, basil and olive anyone?
Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s a charming, satisfying tale of recovery and community. By the simple formation of the choir, everyone in Elsie’s life has their own changed for the better. I found Elsie’s love interests unusual; Olly a little too nice, and Torin almost crossed the line into creepy territory, especially in the way he always appeared when needed. The pace was quite gentle at the beginning, but got going once the choir found goals and more started to happen. Overall, good heartfelt, sensitively written chicklit; if you enjoyed Ten Years On then you’ll definitely love this too.
Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.
Can be obtained from:
US: Amazon for $1.99