Music Saves the Day

Alexander McCall Smith's La's Orchestra Saves the World was a pretty decent read.  Although, for me, it does not stack up to some of his serials (44 Scotland Street, etc.), I rather enjoyed it.

La's is set, for the majority, during the span of WWII in the countryside of Suffolk.  The story begins with La (Lavender) and her developing relationship with Richard Stone.  The two share a whirlwind of a romance that leads, rather quickly, to marriage.  Not even two years later La is alone.  She then moves from Cambridge to Suffolk county into an old farmhouse owned by her in-laws.  It is here that La's life gains new purpose and she becomes a more self-assured individual.  While working on the home-front to help the citizens of Britain during a time of war, she meets a Polish soldier, Feliks, who has been sent to work on a neighboring farm.  Naturally La develops feelings for Feliks, though he's so uptight and reserved that she has no idea where he stands on the issue.  In addition to helping the farming community, La has also taken command of a local orchestra made up of fellow villagers and officers from the nearby military base, among others.  Though the group is not very good, they continue to practice and put on performances to boost morale among the people.  Feliks is also a member of this group.  Events soon transpire and Feliks is taken away from the town for matters beyond his control.  There are secrets that are revealed through this extraction that help La see things for what they really are.
Though not super engaging or highly entertaining, I did like this book by Smith.  I don't know if I would go so far as to recommend it to everyone, like I would with Scotland Street, but I completely loved how he was able to show how powerful music can be during desperate times.


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