<b>La’s Orchestra Saves the World</b> by Alexander McCall Smith
La (Lavender) goes to Oxford with no intention of being married before her late 20s, but ends up romanced, in love, married and then abandoned by her husband. Her inlaws, displeased with their son’s actions, kind and honest people, give her their summer cottage as a home and promise to take care of her after the divorce. She is living there when World War II breaks out. At that time she volunteers to help, and so ends up with two jobs. The official one is to help an arthritic farmer take care of his chickens and collect the eggs. The second one is to organize and conduct an orchestra which can only rehearse once per month.
This is a stand-alone, historical fiction novel by McCall Smith, and one I tend to like better than I think I will during parts of it where I might not be happy with what he’s doing with La’s life or something else. There is something endearing about La and the other characters in this novel, which, although the bulk of it is during WW II, spans a good thirty years or so. I think that one of the reviews on the back or the novel that has a sentence that fits, “A fresh and unforgettable story about the power of human kindness.” From the Booklist starred review, and, as the reviewer from The Scotsman wrote, “An excellent re-creation of a woman of her time.”