The Evening Chorus

The Evening Chorus

Book - 2015
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The story of James, a pilot struggling to survive in a German POW camp, his young war-bride, Rose, back in England trying to make sense of her life, and his sister, whose own story is also rewritten by the tragedies of WWII
Publisher: Boston ; New York : Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
Edition: First Mariner Books edition
ISBN: 9780544348691
0544348699
Branch Call Number: Fiction HUMPHREYS H
Characteristics: 294 pages ; 21 cm

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This would make an absorbing book for a book club discussion. The young make choices, some good some bad. James chooses to become a pilot in WWII and is captured before he drops a bomb but spends his war in an officer's pow camp. Rose made a poor decision to marry James before he left for war but her infidelity while he was at camp hurt more than just James. Enid and Rose could have been friends but their timing was always off. They all end up with the right partner in the end, which brings a comforting closure for the reader.

l
lorraineacasas
Mar 31, 2019

I read this book without reading the synopsis and was initially disappointed to be reading yet another war/historic fiction. However, I was surprised at it. Many parts I found too descriptive and rather slow - the novel was highly character-driven, which isn’t my usual cup of tea. I did find the characters’ stories realistic and impactful, and enjoyed knowing what happened to them after the war. Though set during the Second World War, it felt rather current - Humphreys strategically places the reader at a somewhat bird’s eye view of each character. Humphreys succeeds in depicting the effects of war on humanity, and the latter‘s relationship to the natural world.

s
SusanJ_124
Nov 10, 2018

Although there are some beautiful moments in this book, I found the characters, settings, and plot to be flat, superficial, and often unbelievable. A character-driven book, this was also a problem for me as I could not warm up to any of the characters and found most to be unlikeable.

s
stellamd
Sep 28, 2018

Sparingly, but beautifully written. A moving account of the effects of WWII on three related characters in the story. My first encounter with this author, but definitely not my last.

q
Quietday
Jun 14, 2017

A melancholy book. Cleanly written and contemplative. It focuses more on the development of the 3 main characters than anything else.

Marlowe Oct 17, 2016

I wasn't sure about this book - bird watching during World War II didn't sound riveting - but I was very pleasantly surprised. This is a beautiful book that truly captured me. Humphreys gives us rich, deep characters, but doesn't reveal their whole lives. This is a snapshot of a specific time in space, and despite its brevity, you find a deep connection with the characters, and are moved by the events which unfold. Focusing on three main characters connected by blood, marriage, and circumstance, we see how nature connects us all, can revive us, and how war tears us apart.

b
badgirls
Oct 17, 2015

Such a lovely book. A reflection of life, loves lost and trying to carry on appreciating the smaller things that life offers.

g
geordie18
Oct 08, 2015

The Evening Chorus starts out well, with the newly married James Hunter taken as WW11 POW by the Germans. He is in a work camp, and spending much of his free time studying birds. Meanwhile James' wife Rose is living alone in a small cottage in the countryside of England. Feeling lonely, Rose falls in love with another man. When James' sister Enid loses everything in the London Blitz, Enid arrives to live with Rose. As you might imagine, while there is a certain friendship between the women, there is also a great deal of tension. All of this is in the front flap of the book, so I am not giving anything away.

The story started out well and grabbed my interest. Helen Humphreys is a beautiful and simple writer. Unfortunately for me, I found that as the story broadened out to include even more plot lines that I've described, Evening Chorus just was too diluted and failed to maintain my interest in the last third of the story. The book is small hardcover, with just 289 pages, which I think would be quite a bit shorter if the book was a normal size. Though all of the varied plot lines fell together, I felt it was not as engaging as it could have been if[Helen Humphreys had focused on fewer plot lines. You may love it, but I was disappointed, perhaps because I was expecting a riveting story similar to Coventry , which I think was a 4.5 or 5 star read for me. It is beautifully written, but somehow there was just not enough detail about each character or the later plot-lines to really grab my interest

Catmamakim May 28, 2015

I didn't put this book down often due to a constant curiosity about what would happen next. In this sense it was a page-turner. Well-written with wonderful descriptions of nature during times of despair.

m
molly
May 01, 2015

Amazing..beautiful..lyrical..
sensitive. I didn't want it to end.
"I am a part of all that I have met"

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