2023 Reviews · contemporary fiction

Book Review: The Bellbird River Country Choir by Sophie Green

Title: The Bellbird River Country Choir

Published: July 27th 2022

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 432

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4 stars

A warm-hearted story of fresh beginnings, unexpected friendships and the sustaining power of love and community, from the Top Ten bestselling author of The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle and Thursdays at Orange Blossom House.

Bellbird River, 1998: Teacher and single mum Alex is newly arrived in the small NSW country town of Bellbird River after escaping the city in search of a change of pace and the chance to reconnect with her young daughter. Across town, well-known matriarch Victoria and her globe-trotting, opera-singing cousin Gabrielle find themselves at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives, while local baker Janine and newcomer to the district Debbie are each secretly dealing with the consequences of painful pasts. With its dusty streets, lone pub and iron-lace verandahs, Bellbird River could just be a pit stop on the road to somewhere else. But their town holds some secrets and surprises – and it has a heart: the Bellbird River Country Choir.

Amid the melodies and camaraderie of the choir, each of the women will find the courage to leave the past behind. And together, they’ll discover that friends are much closer to home than they’d ever realised.


Salutations to Sophie Green’s most current release, The Bellbird River Country Choir. A mood lifter that is full of heart and plenty of spirit, Sophie Green’s music themed title is a deeply affectionate read. I cherished my time with the squad of The Bellbird River Country Choir

Moving back in time to 1998, The Bellbird River Country Choir follows the arrival of a new woman in the quaint little township of Bellbird River in rural New South Wales. This single mum is hoping a treechange to Bellbird River will open up a tighter relationship with her daughter and allow her to take life at a slower pace. A key resident of Bellbird River is Victoria, who is the dame of the town and her cousin, a musically gifted woman named Gabrielle, both find themselves in a quandary in their personal versus professional lives. We are also acquainted with Janine, another new face in Bellbird River, while another resident of the area Debbie is hiding a difficult past. This antiquated township is defined by a singular pub and plenty of old-world charm. Bellbird River is also a place where people go to hide their secrets and discover new things about themselves. With the help of the Bellbird River choir collective, the women of this community will find the strength, resilience and the inner power to move on from their histories.

With three top ten bestsellers under her belt, Sophie Green in an Australian author who needs no introduction. I have enjoyed Sophie Green’s previous contemporary fiction novels, they are always so pleasant and filled with endearing characters embarking on heart-warming adventures. Plus Green’s covers are always so divine! The Bellbird River Country Choir was much the same – delightful characters, lively situations, a nostalgic setting and a cover to die for!

This time around Sophie Green transports us to country New South Wales, to a fictional township with a strong country music base, much like Tamworth. I’ve never had the opportunity to travel to this part of our country, but I would dearly love to one day. Sophie Green’s novel offered me a lovely glimpse into the country music scene and a community choir thanks to the wonderful storyline presented in The Bellbird River Country Choir. It was such a nice set up for a story and I have no hesitation in recommending this novel to readers who love a hearty Australian contemporary fiction tale. Green fills her latest release with moments of laughter and serious reflection. There are some topical issues included in the main narrative which range of separation, marital breakdown, health problems, location shifts and troubled relationships. These conflicts allow Green’s cast to first be tested and then experience significant growth thanks to the curveballs that are thrown their way. This was a prominent positive feature of The Bellbird River Country Choir.

Sophie Green always has a good handle on her cast and this novel is no exception. There are five core protagonists who all offer something a little different to the unfolding narrative, which is down to the shifting viewpoint format. These women all have traits or past secrets that we can relate to in some form or another. I know I found glimmers of myself in almost every core character. I couldn’t work out which one I reserved a soft spot for, it was virtually impossible. The journey these women embark on is truly wonderful and I must say I wasn’t quite ready to say toodle-oo by the time the final curtain call was made.

A tale of female bonds, worthy connections, community links, the power of music, fresh pathways and love, The Bellbird River Country Choir is a snug novel that delivers plenty of reader satisfaction.

The Bellbird River Country Choir by Sophie Green is published by Hachette Australia on July 27th 2022. $32.99.


To learn more about the author of The Bellbird River Country Choir, Sophie Green visit here.

*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.


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