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Blog Blitz: Review of Life, Death and Cellos

Thanks a lot to Farrago books and especially to Fanny who works there and is so sweet! I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review – so here it comes!

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the title was more fitting to the content. I liked Life, Death and Cellos, but I think I wasn‘t necessarily the target audience. Which, in my opinion, is musicians – like all the way! And if you also play the cello, this book couldn’t be more perfect for you! I, myself, am far from a musician, you see. I have never played an instrument before (which is a shame, I know), and I’m not a singer either. The book was still interesting to me, maybe especially because I got insight into a new area.

The books is about all the ups and downs life might offer, and it’s also about the orchestra. So what you see in the title, you actually get! People die, things happen (bad things, too), and people have to work together in order to turn the wheel around. This is the content wrapped up in one sentence. If you‘d like to know more, here comes the blurb:

Classical music can be a dangerous pastime…
What with love affairs, their conductor dropping dead, a stolen cello and no money, the
Stockwell Park Orchestra is having a fraught season. After Mrs Ford-Hughes is squashed and injured by a dying guest conductor mid-concert, she and her husband withdraw their generous financial backing, leaving the orchestra broke and unsure of its future. Cellist Erin suggests a recovery plan, but since it involves their unreliable leader, Fenella, playing a priceless Stradivari cello which then goes missing, it’s not a fool-proof one. Joshua, the regular conductor, can’t decide which affair to commit to, while manager David’s nervous tic returns at every doom-laden report from the orchestra’s treasurer. There is one way to survive, but is letting a tone-deaf diva sing Strauss too high a price to pay? And will Stockwell Park Orchestra live to play another season?

The writing was different to books I usually read. It felt a bit distant to the characters at first, which made it a bit difficult for me to feel a real connection to them. This changed later, the more I read of the book, the more I got used to this writing style and started to like it. It’s fun and casual, even when people die (which was a bit strange to read in the first couple of pages, before you really know what’s going on, but then again it got the plot rolling, so it was necessary). What was a bit difficult for me was that we meet a lot of characters (from early on) and get many points of view, but actually, the book follows (somewhat) main character Erin (I think she is supposed to be, at least), a young amateur cellist. I sometimes had the feeling that we lost track of her story a bit, but then again, it’s interesting to get an insight into the lives of the others.

I liked to see the “difficult” and “unlikeable” character (you’ll know who this is when you read it) change in the end – I love it when we get to see a change in character in books – and I liked the dedication to the musical aspects. I think the author knows a great deal about it (and the cello in particular), and I’m sure musicians and connoisseurs will love this read! I think the mystery aspect is a bit lacking because it’s not as unpredictable as it claims, but still a very enjoyable read if you’re interested in the music sector.

Life, Death and Cellos is different, it has many characters and is dedicated to the orchestra. If you’re interested in that area or want to try out something new, like I did, you might find a new thing you like! 4 stars from me – one less because of the few slight ‘problems’ I mentioned I had with it, but overall a good read!



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