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The Choir


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A story of ecclesiastical politics and human dilemmas.

About the Author

Joanna Trollope is the author of eagerly awaited and sparklingly readable novels often centred around the domestic nuaunces and dilemmas of life in present-day England. She has also written a number of historical novels and Britannia's Daughters, a study of women in the British Empire. oanna Trollope was born in Gloucestershire and now lives in London. She was appointed OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature.


Trollope's contemporary novels usually take place in picturesque English villages where the business of the church is inextricably bound up with the business of the town and where, behind the front doors of their gentrified cottages, people live messy lives. In the village of Aldminster, factions are lining up over the disposal of the church's dwindling coffers‘on the side of its much-needed new roof or on the side of its prestigious but high-maintenance choir. The large cast of characters features Sally Ashworth, whose marriage has been strained by her husband's frequent business absences; her young son, Henry, who has just been invited to join the choir; her father-in-law, Frank, a champion of leftist and lost causes who loves his grandson and the choir with equal ardor; and Leo Beckford, the organist with whom Sally falls in love. Trollope's villagers, young and old, take up room in one's heart. Published in Britain in 1988 and issued in the United States for the first time to coincide with its appearance on Masterpiece Theater, The Choir is one of Trollope's very best. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/95.]‘Barbara Love, Kingston P.L., Ontario

"A beautifully drawn portrait of Cathedral life" * Sunday Express *
"One of the most interesting writers to have emerged in the past few years" -- Carla McKay * Daily Mail *
"A modern Barchester Chronicle" * Sunday Telegraph *
"Richly satisfying" * Evening Standard *

As in the music that pervades the plot of Trollope's (The Rector's Wife) absorbing novel, contrapuntal technique results in a brilliant composition. Like her ancestor Anthony, Trollope focuses on an English cathedral town and its dissonant voices. Hugh Cavendish is dean of Aldminster Cathedral. The father of mutinous, unorthodox children, he is a bitterly disappointed man who craves administrative and spiritual authority. The prized boy's choir, however, is under the authority of King's School headmaster Alexander Troy and music master Leo Beckford. When the cathedral needs a quarter-million pounds worth of roof repairs, all matters of God, pedagogy, politics and music become matters of funds. Cavendish prefers to pay off the roof costs by sacrificing the expensive-to-maintain choir. Meanwhile, socialist/atheist city councilman Frank Ashworth wants the town to buy the headmaster's house out from under him to use as a community facility. Into the fray fall Sally Ashworth, married to Frank's long-absent son and in love with Leo; Sally's young son, Henry, the choir star; Alexander's untethered wife, Felicity; and Hugh's daughter Ianthe, an up-and-comer in the music business, who helps give her father what he deserves. Sacred music, the perfect treble of pre-pubescent boys and delicious deadpan understatement create a uniquely rich soundtrack on the pages of this beautifully crafted tale, which was first published in Britain in 1978. Author tour. (Sept.)

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