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Margaret (Literary Chanteuse)
on July 08, 2012 :
A soap opera type story which has a variety of characters that mostly connect on some level or other and each story develops as you switch in between them all to discover what happens next in their lives. The gossip travels fast as it usually does in small communities. The jazz singer is quite a cunning character. I was surprised to see the story not entirely revolving around her. I found my interest was piqued more by certain characters and their stories and not by others but overall enjoyed it. 3.5 stars
(reviewed long after purchase)
on March 24, 2012 :
The Beacon Singer is about Jane Lake, a feisty jazz singer who finds herself home again to mend the pieces of her life, and figure out exactly what the heck she’s going to do with it. Mingled throughout this book are the stories of those around her, Philip and his strange connection with young Stella, Ruth and her awkward longing for Simon, to Margaret and her here-then gone husband, Jane’s parents, and Jane’s love/hate relationship with her brother, David.
By the synopsis I had expected the book to mostly be about Jane, but it’s far more than that. There’s an abundance of plot here, much like watching a mini-series; you were slipped into not only Jane’s life, but also of all the ones around her in the English Lake District. You’re not very far into the book before you’re met with the scandalicious ways of small town life. Chapman nailed that aspect, how life in these towns can be smiles up front, yet burning your ears with the buzz of gossip.
Chapman did a very nice job describing London and the peaceful life of Jane’s quaint hometown, so much so that I felt as if she plucked me right out of America and set me down in this beautiful, exquisite land I have never seen with my own eye. She’s left me with the urge to take a vacation I cannot afford to indulge in the beauty of that land.
I did however have a hard time really connecting with the characters. Their struggles and emotions were on the tips of my fingers, but I just couldn’t quite feel them for a good portion of the book. But that’s not to say others would have this problem. Connections felt with characters can vary greatly from reader to reader. Where I felt this slight barrier between me and the characters, another reader may relate with them on the deepest of levels. That being said, I did end up bridging the gap with them better toward the middle of the book, and felt I knew them well by the end.
The ending for me was tied up nicely, Chapman did well in addressing any loose ends. And I would have to say the ending seemed fitting for the characters and their journey, I probably would have been disappointed had it ended any other way.
Overall this was a decent read! Chapman is a very fine writer, she has wonderful talent with description, a keen eye for plot twists and pace, and I also loved that she kept her chapters short. This makes reading for busy people like me so much easier. I could dive into the story, yet always had a decent place to stop and not feel as if I was leaving in the middle of a great scene. I hate when I have to do that. Chapman, clearly, put a lot of thought and heart into this book, and I applaud her for that. I do wish that I could have connected on a deeper level with the characters earlier on, but a connection was established, leaving my inner reader satisfied in the end!
**My review copied from Krazy Book Lady's blog
(reviewed long after purchase)