Thursday, September 6, 2012

Choral Society by Prue Leith

Paperback: 376 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Publisher:  Quercus 2009
Source: Oxfam Bookshop in UK
First Sentence: The women behind the counter were filling orders and shouting to customers over the lunchtime din..

Review Quote:  Prue Leith was not just born to cook ... she was also born to write - Daily Mail 
 My Opinion:  Romance for grown ups.

Prue Leith is a name you probably associate with cookery rather than fiction although it is now many years since she gave up that career to become a novelist. I have read three of  Prue Leiths earlier fiction offerings starting with Leaving Patrick , in 1999, Sisters in 2002, and The Gardener  in 2008 by which time I was writing short reviews on Bookcrossing Her novels are not great literature but they are enjoyable and realistic, as she draws on her own life experiences as a business woman and a cook. Her writing will appeal to all overs of contemporary fiction and the grown ups amongst us will appreciate the fact her heroines are older women.  Although sometimes a little predictable she provides exactly what one should expect if you pick up a novel in this genre, a feel good romance.

Choral Society is about the ups and downs in the lives of three women in their fifties who meet in a choir group and as different as they are they soon become friends. So close in fact that they become the sort of friends that are always there for each other, a little too quick for the real world, in my opinion friendships like theirs normally take years to grow. Our three protagonists are Lucy, Joanna and Rebecca all very different women with their own problems to overcome, which of course they do by the end of the novel. Lucy is a recently widowed food journalist, who joins the choir as her daughter feels it will help her overcome her grief. Joanna a single entrepreneurial business woman for whom failure is never an option, has joined the choir to learn to sing, as up to this point she never been able to hit a note. Rebecca is the extrovert and flirtatious single mother unashamedly searching for a man to support the lifestyle she yearns for.

Prue Leith makes their lives interesting enough to keep one reading as the choir teaches them a lot more about themselves than how to sing. When they decide to combine their talents to turn a Cornish hotel from a dated failure into an up market success there is bound to be problems. Of course they are resolved but I am not spoiling the story by telling you here. If you are fan of the genre of a certain age I do not think you will be disappointed.

As I mentioned in the review above I have read three of Prue Leiths earlier fiction offerings starting with Leaving Patrick  in 1999, followed by Sisters in 2002, both before I was reviewing my reading material. The Gardener I read in 2008 by which time I was writing short reviews on Bookcrossing

A Serving of Scandal published last year is on my Amazon Wishlist as is her autobiography Relish, My Life on a Plate which was published in February 2012.   
Whilst doing my research for this post I came across an interesting video called Meet The Author from the BBC which after watching made me interested enough to put the title on my wishlist. I have included the link for those of you that might also want to take a look. 

Leaving Patrick
The Gardener
A Serving of Scandal




Autobiography Publication Date 27th September 2012
Author Profile.

Prudence Margaret Leith was born on February 18th 1940 in South Africa. Her very successful adult life has been spent mostly in London where she still lives dividing her time between there and Oxfordshire. As an entrepreneurial business woman she has been a successful cook, restaurant and cookery school owner, food writer and since 1995 a novelist.

If you are interested in learning more about the life of Prue Leith I recommend her Official Website where there is lots of fascinating information and a gallery of photos. 

Photo and Biographical Information is with thanks to the following sites where you can also find out more about the author and her writing.

Goodreads      Prue Leith - Official Website     Prue Leith - Wikipedia


  1. Hi Linda. Well, I just wrote a comment, and had difficulty in posting it, and now it has disappeared. Eeek! Now I will have to try to remember exactly what I said! I think you probably already know that this is the sort of book that I know I will really enjoy. Your review was compelling, and I shall certainly be downloading it onto my Kindle. I have never read any of her other novels, but I know that this one will tick all the right boxes. Thank you! I will now try again with this comment.

  2. Linda, a great post. Thanks for the information about the books, they look good. Now added to my wish list!

  3. Hi Linda, it's Jeremy from Goodreads.

    Not my genre but I love cooking shows! lol

    I started following your blog.


  4. Thisisme@ Sorry you had trouble posting your comment, but thanks for persevering, as I am delighted to know that I have introduced you to a new author.
    Julie@ I think Prue Leith will be an author that appeals to you on a number of levels.
    Jeremy@ Your support is appreciated, thanks.

  5. I can think of a couple of my relatives who would probably really like this book, though I don't know if it's one I'd be into at the moment. :)

  6. Interesting premise for a book because I agree with you. Close friendships take years to develop. Very well-written, Linda. I think the author's change in careers is very interesting. :D

  7. Alyce@ No I guess you are too young, do recommend her to your relatives though :)

    Ricki Jill@ Thanks, Prue Leith uses her other career experience to great advantage in her writing.

  8. Hi there, the September edition of Books You Loved has now posted. Here is the link Books You Loved September Edition Please do pop by and link in a post about a book you loved. Maybe this one? Cheers

  9. This is my first introduction to Prue Leith, and she seems to be quite an interesting woman...from chef to novelist...the story line of this book seems suited for some lovely hours of reading too.

  10. Yes, I think it does appeal. Prue is talking at the Guildford book festival & I would go up, but alas I shall be on my hols!

  11. Carole@ Thanks for the reminder I will see what I can do.

    Sara@ I am delighted to have introduced you to her, do let me know if you follow this up and read any of her books.

    Julie@ Good, let me know what you think. I would definitely go and hear her speak if I was still in Surrey, especially as I have a friend who works for the festival.Enjoy your holiday.

  12. Thanks for linking this in to Books You Loved. You are right that you don't need to put up a badge or anything - I am pretty much a no rules minimalist type linky host.


  13. This one's interesting Lindy :)
    Might pick it up when done with the present crop of books!

    It actually made me feel "It will be a Yummmm book"

  14. Divenita@ What a great comment, you made me smile. I hope you do find it to be a Yummmm book.


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