The Evening Chorus - a novel by Helen Humphreys

The Evening Chorus   (2015)

Shot down on his first RAF mission, James Hunter, an English officer, spends the Second World War in a German POW camp. While other prisoners plan daring escapes, James begins studying a pair of redstarts near the camp. His interest in the birds captures the attention of the Kommandant, giving James cause to fear for his life. Meanwhile, back in England, James’s young wife, Rose, falls headlong into a passionate affair with another man. When James’s sister, Enid, loses everything during the Blitz in London, she comes to stay with Rose, and the two women form a surprising friendship that alters the course of all three of their lives.

The Evening Chorus is a brilliant evocation of an unforgettable time and place and a natural history of both the war and the human heart.

“A heartbreaking yet redemptive story about loss and survival. . . . Humphreys deserves more recognition for the emotional intensity and evocative lyricism of her seemingly straightforward prose and for her ability to quietly squirrel her way into the reader’s heart.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“An ingeniously elegant and instinctively restrained tale about the durability of the human spirit.”
Booklist, starred review
The Evening Chorus
The Evening Chorus is a poised, lyrical novel about the griefs of war, written with poetic intensity of observation. It resonates afterwards. I read it with pleasure.”
—Helen Dunmore, author of The Lie
“In The Evening Chorus the interventions of war, and the resulting human tragedies, play out against a natural world at once remote, alien, and ultimately redemptive. The novel has a crystalline quality about it—it’s clear and complex and self-contained. It sparkles.”
—Jo Baker, author of Longbourn
The Evening Chorus is rich with [Humphreys’] particular gift for symphonic cadences and beautiful imagery that moves a story forward with the momentum of a big train gathering speed. This riveting novel is a song. Listen.”
—Richard Bausch, author of The Last Good Time and the forthcoming Before, During, After

The Evening Chorus is available for purchase at your local bookstore, online at and for US customers at

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