BOOK REVIEW – The Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

Beulah Land is the shamed daughter of a preacher. Cast out from her family and community for being pregnant at the age of 16, she lives with her beloved (but prickly) piano teacher Ginger.

Beulah has made a life for herself singing and playing piano in the local bar, The Fountain. But with Ginger’s failing health and the arrival of handsome new preacher Luke, she finds herself propelled onto a new and unexpected path. It is Ginger’s wish that she takes over from her as the church pianist, which unsurprisingly meets with much disapproval from the church stalwarts and local gossips.

Then she is tasked with forming a new church choir, and so begins a journey filled with new friendships and frustrations as she puts together what begins as a rag-tag bunch of locals, but ends up being something close to family! There’s also the possibility that Beulah finally has the chance to find happiness and acceptance with the affable Luke.

This is a sweet book. I know that doesn’t sound complimentary, but it’s a great description for what is an enjoyable, quite uplifting read. It wavers between which audience it’s aimed at though. I’m not sure if it would be classified as Women’s Fiction, or Christian Fiction, so I’d say it probably hovers somewhere between the two.

I’m not a Christian, so I did find some aspects of the book a bit confusing. I don’t know if it’s the done thing for a preacher to hang out in the local bar, or if this was just a tactic used by Luke to try and understand and gain the support of his new community. I did enjoy the interactions with the local, so-called upstanding citizens who somehow fail in their quest to claim the moral high ground with their constant gossiping and judgemental behaviour. They were quite comical and added to the picture of a community consisting of all types.

Ultimately this is a story of overcoming the odds and of choosing and creating your own support system, when you’ve been sorely let down by those who you should be able to rely on.

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