Spalding bookshop chooses a good read

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Bookmark in Spalding has selected Florence Foster Jenkins, The Life of the World’s Worst Opera Singer, as its book of the week.

Madame Jenkins couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket: despite that, in 1944 at the age of 76, she played Carnegie Hall to a capacity audience and had celebrity fans by the score.

Her infamous 1940s recordings are still highly-prized today.

In his well-researched and thoroughly entertaining biography, Darryl W Bullock tells of Florence Foster Jenkins’ meteoric rise to success and the man who stood beside her, through every sharp note.

Florence was ridiculed for her poor control of timing, pitch, and tone, and terrible pronunciation of foreign lyrics, but the sheer entertainment value of her caterwauling packed out theatres around the United States, with the ‘singer’ firmly convinced of her own talent, partly thanks to the devoted attention from her husband and manager St Clair Bayfield.

Her story is one of triumph in the face of adversity, of courage, conviction and of the belief that with dedication and commitment a true artist can achieve anything.

Packed with exclusive interviews with Florence’s family, friends and connoisseurs, and containing fascinating original photography, Florence Foster Jenkins is the book to read to get the full story on this most incredible woman.

Now the subject of a major film starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.

The book retails for £7.99 but there is a 20 per cent discount voucher in the Spalding Guardian of May 26.