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La's Orchestra Saves the World  By  cover art

La's Orchestra Saves the World

By: Alexander McCall Smith
Narrated by: Emily Gray
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Publisher's Summary

Alexander McCall Smith takes a break from his popular No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series for this stirring historical novel. In 1939, Lavender flees London to escape the German bombs and her shattered marriage. Settling in a small town, she pulls together a makeshift orchestra to help cope with the times.
©2008 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Delightful...McCall Smith once again creates unforgettable characters and a story that will resonate with readers across generations....A fresh and unforgettable story about the power of human kindness. Highly recommended." (Booklist)

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What listeners say about La's Orchestra Saves the World

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

McCall Smith Does It Again!

My only complaint with McCall Smith's books is that they are too short! But I guess that's also one of his books' assets - the writing always conveys the breadth of complex ideas and issues that we all face as we traverse the planet, with such economy of expression and lightness of touch, that it seems there is not one extra word or sentence.

And now, with "La's Orchestra" he brings to life the civilian world of WW II with such clarity and resonance it feels as though he could be talking about things that happened yesterday.


When I am in the middle of an Alexander McCall Smith listen, I always feel as though I am with a friend. I think that Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Isabel Dalhousie of the eponymous series, and now La, are all soul mates, rendered in perfect nuance and salient, luxuriant, radiant detail by Alexander McCall Smith. It's always a bit of a downer when and one of these books ends, and sometimes I feel I need a support group for McCall Smith addicts! Fortunately for like-minded readers, McCall Smith is prolific, and one does not have to wait very long for Mme. Ramotswe or Isabel Dalhousie to reappear. Let's hope we see more of La, as well.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

B-O-R-I-N-G

I HAD TO WRITE A REVIEW BECAUSE I CAN'T BELIEVE ANYONE WOULD GIVE THIS BOOK 5 STARS! I loved the first three No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, after that they were still enjoyable, but gradually lost their spark. I was hoping that Smith would come roaring back with this new subject "La". Did the book ever begin? Was there a story worth writing anywhere in it? Nothing ever happened. What was there to like? I didn't even like "La". She could have opened up her home to people in need. But no, she was an aristocrat who tended chickens and thought herself noble for the effort. If you want to read an excellent story set in WW2, read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

My new favorite author!

I chose this book because I am a very big fan of other books by Alexander McCall Smith. This book did not let me down. Full of heartwarming insights into what it was like to live in England during the war. Thanks to Mr. Smith for another wonderful read!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A trip back into time

I really liked Alexander McCall Smith's new book. Being English myself helps, but the best part is the author's *amazing* ability to move me back into time during which England was being attacked by Germany in WWII.

The story is itself charming, as usual for Mr. Smith, but what got me was I could see and almost feel how it must have been to be "on the ground" at that time and realize Hitler and the Germans might actually conquer England. To not know how it would all turn out in the end.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Alexander McCall Smith Does It Again

Alexander McCall Smith does it again in this fabulous historical book. He transports the reader back in time when life went forward at a slower pace, reinforcing timeless principles; never give up and it only takes one person to make a lasting difference.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This quiet story stole my heart.

Totally different for AM Smith. I really loved this book. It is one that I told my friends about. Set in England during WW2, it is inspiring and lovely.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A World Away

I just started to listen to books while driving home from work. "La" was a great escape to another time and place at the end of a busy day. McCall Smith captures the small things that make up a woman's life with great insight. He never fails to please. Emily Gray narrates with style!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A change, but good

This is different from other AMCS books. I recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MJ
  • 01-10-10

Another good listen

As always, Alexander McCall Smith writes an interesting, engaging story. This book is a wonderful listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not McCall Smith's best

McCall Smith is a fantastic writer and I love many of his books, but unfortunately this isn't one of his best, in my opinion. Excellent reading by Emily Grey, and beautiful writing style which I always admire, but the characters and plot are just a bit... blah. I didn't feel drawn in - no strong connection to the characters, no particularly poignant observations, a pretty slow paced and shallow "slice of life" plot.