Everybody's Got a Place in the Choir

J. G. Ballard

This autobiographical novel tells the story of Jim the choir boy, the pampered child of a wealthy English couple living in Shanghai as the Japanese army begins the invasion of China. Separated from his parents Jim is interned with other Europeans and Americans and receives little help or sympathy from the adults around him. It is a harrowing tale made into a wonderful film by Steven Spielberg. The haunting sound of the boys choir on the film's soundtrack is a perfect symbol of the author's lost childhood.

Teresa McClain-Watson
Roni Jarrett was once in love with a high-rolling strip club owner who abused her. With nothing left but her newfound faith in Christ and her old BMW, she hits the road and ends up in her old hometown, with a new job in an upscale beauty salon and a position as music director for her church. But when her best friend from childhood turns up dead in the streets, the local police (including gorgeous Chief Don Gillette) suspect Roni, and she finds herself caught up in a dangerous maze of gossip and lies that could lead to her own destruction.
Sharon Kahn

Trouble is brewing in Temple Rita. First, the choir's upcoming excursion to Banff and Lake Louise is in serious jeopardy when sagging latke sales don't raise enough money for the scenic train trip. Resident busybody Essie Sue thinks that hiring Bitsy, an aging peroxide-blond tart of a party planner, can help solve their problems. Ruby, our widowed heroine, disagrees, and all Bitsy manages to do is spend more money the temple doesn't have on a pathetic Chanukah concert.To make matters worse, Temple Rita's star soprano, Serena Salit, collapses right before her number. She's rushed to the hospital but later dies of heart failure. Ruby steps in quickly to support Serena's good friend Rose, a move that gets her right where she wants to be -- in the path of the gossip -- when Rose discovers some disturbing entries in Serena's electronic diary.

Bebe Moore Campbell

"Maxine McCoy has made it. She has overcome the odds she faced as a black woman from a working-class Philadelphia neighborhood to become a successful television producer in Los Angeles. She loves her hardworking, ambitious husband and is pregnant with her first child. She does worry, though, that the shows she produces are of no social value. But even this concern drops away when she receives a phone call from the caretaker of her seventy-year-old grandmother and learns she has to return to Philadelphia.

"Orphaned at an early age, Maxine grew up with her grandmother Lindy, a singing star. Lindy is now a smoking, drinking, embittered women whose glorious voice has atrophied from disuse, and the house that used to swing with laughter and music is dim and lifeless. Lindy's once striving neighborhood has become a blighted, crime-infested area. Yet after a few days there, Maxine realizes that Lindy and Sydenham Street itself have been the source of her own strength and success, and she is moved to help both reclaim their glory."

Grace Octavia

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, may not be a glamorous place, but for Journey Cash, the small Southern town has always been enough. She has a loving husband, a great family, and she even occasionally brings the house down at church with her beautiful, thunderous singing voice. Problem is, Journey finds herself wondering if all those years as an obedient preacher's daughter have kept her from living a life she is really meant to live.

Felicia Mason

After eighteen years of unwavering faith, Roger McKenzie is questioning his calling as leader of the gospel choir, The Triumphant Voices of Praise. The Voices have failed to hit the big time, commercially and critically, and relationships between the choir members are unraveling, turning the once harmonious group into disillusioned and bitter strangers.

As four members of the choir head out on an East Coast tour to promote their latest CD, they must choose between doing what's right and doing what's easy as they reconcile their desire for recognition with the mandate to be a witness through music. And when Roger faces a threat from within the ranks, the choir is plunged into a crisis of faith that will test and form their spirits.

Also available as a downloadable audio book.

Joanna Trollope

In the gentle precinct of Aldminster Cathedral, crisis loomed. The urbane and worldly Dean (Purdey guns and the regular arrival of a delivery van from Berry Brothers) wanted nothing so much as to restore and beautify his beloved Cathedral--even if it meant sacrificing the Choir School to pay for it.

Alexander Troy, Headmaster of the school, a conscientious man, somewhat out of his depth with his elusive and poetical wife (once seen walking barefoot in the dew across the Cathedral Close) was determined that nothing and no-one-certainly not the overbearing Dean-should destroy the Choir. As the rift widened into Machiavellian dimensions, many others found themselves caught in the schism--Leo Beckford, brilliant but wayward organist, repelling the adoration of the Dean's dreadful daughter--the gentle, left-wing Bishop, trying to soothe the angry protagonists--Sally Ashworth, mother of the leading chorister, fighting loneliness and an erring and absent husband.

Carl Weber

When he hires charismatic choir director Anthony Mackie to rejuvenate the First Jamaica Ministries, Bishop T.K. Knight discovers that Anthony has secrets that could destroy the church, while his wife, Monique, tries to discover who has been robbing the church blind.

Louise Erdrich

Having survived the killing fields of World War I, Fidelis Waldvogel returns home to his quiet German village and marries the pregnant widow of his best friend who was killed in action. With a suitcase full of sausages and a master butcher's precious set of knives, Fidelis sets out for America, getting as far as North Dakota, where he builds a business, a home for his family -- which includes Eva and four sons -- and a singing club consisting of the best voices in town. When the Old World meets the New -- in the person of Delphine Watzka -- the great adventure of Fidelis's life begins. Delphine meets Eva and is enchanted; she meets Fidelis, and the ground trembles. These momentous encounters will determine the course of Delphine's life.

Also available on audio and in large print.

Alan Warner
A trip to the big city for the national singing finals becomes a saga of adolescent debauchery for members of the choir from Our Lady of Perpetual Succour School for Girls, especially for the sopranos, for whom such treats as pub crawling, shoplifting, and body piercing are top priorities.
Thomas Hardy

The arrival of two newcomers in the quiet village of Mellstock arouses a bitter feud and leaves a convoluted love affair in its wake. While the Reverend Maybold creates a furor among the village's musicians with his decision to abolish the church's traditional 'string choir' and replace it with a modern mechanical organ, the new schoolteacher, Fancy Day, causes an upheaval of a more romantic nature, winning the hearts of three very different men - a local farmer, a church musician and Maybold himself. "Under the Greenwood Tree" follows the ensuing maze of intrigue and passion with gentle humour and sympathy, deftly evoking the richness of village life, yet tinged with melancholy for a rural world that Hardy saw fast disappearing.

Joyce Carol Thomas
Despite her mean-spirited foster mother's attempts to demean her, fourteen-year-old orphan Marigold finds the song within her heart during the search for a new lead gospel singer for the Rose of Sharon Baptist Church.