I liked this book - but not one of my favorites. I felt sad for La and thought she was very lonely. Nice ending though.
After I was finished, I had to go back and reread the first chapter to tie it back into the book.
When I read "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" by the same author, I was disappointed because it wasn't about a real detective agency with some serious crimes to solve. I didn't get it. But, after listening to his tapes on audio, I came to love Precious Ramotswe and Botswana, and now I'm a big fan of all the books. La's Orchestra has the same effect. I don't get it. This book is not really about La's Orchestra; in fact, it says very little about it. Don't expect it to be about the orchestra, or indeed, about anybody saving the world. It's just sad. It leaves sort of a lingering aftereffect, and as the other reviewer said, you have to go back to the first chapter to tie it all together, but there isn't much. Still, I'm glad I read it.
I quite like the calm, cozy reads that this author provides me. Even this one about La (for Lavender) Ferguson Stone and her life from living on the hill before college until age 50. La is not really as interested in marriage as she is in learning. She loves music, too.
When she meets Richard he falls in love and wants to marry after a few months. Did she love him? Probably not but she marries him anyway. He doesn't want her to work because he has plenty of money and, after all, she will have to take care of the children. But when the children don't come she sees a doctor who tells her that she cannot have any. We're enough for each other says Richard. La has grown used to him and fallen in love with him when one day his father appears. Richard is gone - off to live with another woman. She is hurt but realizes that they must divorce. Before that can occur, Richard is critically injured in an accident.
La's life as a widow begins. She leaves London to live in the country and WWII becomes apparent. La makes new friends and volunteers to help in the war effort, caring for a farmer's chickens. When a Polish man is placed to help the farmer, too, La feels attracted to him. And, she helps with morale by creating an orchestra composed of men from the military base nearby and residents of the area. Life moves on and so does her Polish friend. The rest of the read is devoted to what happens to La from that point. And, while the ending is predictable it is a charming and relaxing read.