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You have intrigue, church politics, community politics, and human emotion in the small town of Aldminster, Great Britian just outside of London, England The cathedral is worth saving for it highlights the beauty of the town It is the main work of the bishop, dean, and all who work for the church But, the choir is a long standing tradition and should it be saved at the expense of the cathedral That question will test family relationships, friendships, and one s faith with God For Leo Beckford and Alexander Troy, the answer is easy Yes, the music of the choir is priceless For others, it is what you can trade to get what you ultimately want A good read that will leave you wondering whether life is fair. I used to like Joanna Trollope Maybe I ve just got older and cynical It felt a dated read and it was unstintingly middle class twaddle Yes there were interesting politics in Cathedral close and a dilemma between key characters and you couldn t help but want the titular choir to be saved , but the stereotyped churchy ladies were just too much with their pompous little churchy husbands. The novel was thoroughly readable but for me somehow never quite escaped an aura of soap opera about it and certainly a fair dollop of sentimentality and old lace I also felt that it was written rather too obviously in the shadow of the author s grandfather and the Barchester Chronicles but arguably that is like criticising the leopard for his spots The tale and the way it is told a polite and quietly asserted encomium for a polite and traditional society, for a certain Englishness, a certain English civilization The story is about the machinations in an English cathedral town centring on the choir and the cathedral and their survival The characters involved are all flawed but struggling and often pitiful beings except one character called Cosimo who is a kind of Kleistian villain and irredeemable n er do well their private lives are concerned with separation and coming together anmd reconciliation and in their relationships sex seems to play a quite minor role God is present and prayed to but politely contested orm ignored as well This novel would hardly have raised eyebrows in the nineteeth century world of letters, a chaste acheivement given the expectancy of the fictional entretainment of modern times Sometimes the characters veer seem to me to be forced to play their role too heavily by the writer the hysterical teenager in love, the wife and mother taking the big step according to the slogan it s my life , the absent husband with double standards bent on his career But for all its failings, the novel is very readable, enjoyable, unmpredictable, entirely modern in the sense of one feeling familiar with the emotional, physical and psychological surroundings this is my second novel by this writer and I am beginning to think this is probably charactreistic of her writing I have the feeling which I mentioned in my first review of a Joanna Trollop novel, that in thirty years time they may be regarded as supremely dated but here and now they are a welcome companion for car park, lonely breakfast, long flight or train journey. There was plenty to like in this book, but there wasn t enough for me to love Trollope writes clearly and convincingly, and in some ways this reminded me of A Spanish Lover, the only other novel of Trollope s I ve read In both books, a small initial occurrence sets a very large chain of events in motion But that book focuses on an extended family, while this one revolves around a cathedral, and the size of the cast of characters led to some confusion on my part I was caught up in a few of the stories, but so many of the others revolved around old men in tweed suits that I could never quite keep straight in my head Still, I was entertained enough to plow through to the end, and I ll definitely be reading from Trollope in the future. [ FREE DOWNLOAD ] ☸ The Choir ⚔ In The Rustic Town Of Aldminster, A Crisis Looms Funds Are Short And The Cathedral Is In Need Of Major Repair Some Hope To Finance The Work By Abolishing The Costly Boy S Choir While Others Are Aghast At The Idea Drawn Into The Fray Is Sally Ashworth, The Lonely Mother Of A Ten Year Old Chorister She Is Anchored Only By Her Unexpected Love For The Brilliant Choirmaster And By Her Young Son, Whose Melodic Voice May Be The Only Thing That Can Unite A Divided Community Compelling Boston Globe Sacred Musicand Delicious Deadpan Understatement Create A Uniquely Rich Soundtrack On The Pages Of This Beautifully Crafted Tale Publishers Weekly, Starred Review Boring story about selfish people. I wouldn t have thought of myself as a likely Joanna Trollope reader, but I m a sucker for books set in the closed world of cathedrals or choirs, and this combines both so I thought I d give it a go I have to say that I really enjoyed it This was Trollope s first novel writing as herself, published in 1987 Thirty years on, the story it tells of hard pressed cathedrals having to make difficult choices between maintaining their historic fabric and continuing their unique and ancient choral traditions is still relevant The Choir is immensely readable, populated by engaging, multi dimensional characters and with a real page turner of a plot All in all, a very satisfying and entertaining read. Close Encounters and Clashing Wills This mesmerizing novel reveals public and private feudingbehind the seemingly serene grounds of an English Close lands adjacent to the Cathedral Conflict arises on several fronts the ridid,domineering Dean wants his own way and instant obedience in all matters related to the cathedral repairs, the choir s very existence and oh yes his unsuccessfully urbane marriage Next we meet the dedicated but harried Head Master, Alexander Troy whose wife has disappeared on some fool personal junket for several weeks The extensive cast includes the organist who falls in love with the mother of one of his choristers the ambivalent return of a former chorister with no visible musical means and the ten year old probationer with the voice of an angel, Henry Ashcroft What prevents this psychological masterpiece from devolving into just another soap opera in a cathedral setting is Trollope s seamless weaving of the myriad of conflicting desires into a riveting tapestry of scheming and tormented countermeasures The motivations of manycharacters are questioned both by themselves and each other Adults learn to their dismay the perils of engaging the media for private gain What can be done to save the Aldminster Boy Choir slated for the axe in the name of critically needed cathedral repair Will the Head Master and his wife have to leave their beloved home inorder to satisfy the skeptical City Council Can the micro managing Dean force the excellent organist to resign for petty reasons re his private life The novel wreaks delightfully of Secular manipulation in a supposedly Sacred setting Insightful readers may wonder which side the Lord espouses as if there were only two sides to begin with The long chapters are conveniently subdivided by generous amounts of white space affording the reader mini breaks as strong wills clash and passions not just sexual are ignited There is no clear cut protagonist here the action psychological and otherwise alternates among the large cast as the plot twists and is warped into a political labyrinth, resulting in a new and daring entity So who will ultimately triumph or at least benefit the most from the attempts of the dedicated to Save the Choir Who can place a spiritual value on the role of choral music during church service And does victor realize at what price the goal has been achieved Excellent literary fare on all levels June 16, 2015 I recently reread this after 15 years and found it did not hold up as well as I expected, although I still enjoyed it I find the characters in Joanna Trollope s books to be amazingly unlikeable, and the style of storytelling which, fair enough, might have been the thing when this was written, involves a lot of telling and very little dialogue However, the machinations of the dean and all the people who get involved in saving the choir makes for a good read. only read half Puzzling as Carol and I usually like the same books Couldn t like anyone I suspect someone who s involved with church choirs might like it.