The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

A Novel

eBook - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
As England enters World War II's dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to shutter the church's choir in the absence of men and instead carry on singing.
Publisher: New York :, Crown/Archetype,, [2017]
ISBN: 9781101906767
Characteristics: c


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 30, 2020

I don’t know if I would have loved this book as much if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook, but the narrator was a complete delight.

Oct 31, 2020

A feel good book that is perfect for the times! Suburban women stay strong and find your voice!!!

CCPL_Laura Jan 11, 2020

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir gives the women a voice -- a voice in a time when women didn't really have one. This WWII novel primarily focused on a village outside of Dover during the spring and summer months of 1940, when the Nazis began attacking England. Told in journal entries and letters, the reader experiences the war through the eyes of five different women of varying ages and backgrounds. Fans of Doc Martin’s small-town humor, the female comradery of Guernsey Literary, and epistolary style of Letters from Skye will enjoy this book!

Jan 04, 2020

This is a lovely story about how society had to change when all the men headed off to WW II. A small English village is left with few men, so the Minister decides to discontinue the church choir. The women are upset and feel that the village needs music more than ever. With the arrival of a music teacher, the women gang together and create an all-female choir that goes on to offer solace, laughter, friendship and strength to the entire community. Very enjoyable.

Aug 15, 2019

I am a sucker for books like this documenting how life went on in small English villages during World War II. Told from a variety of village women’s perspectives, the story shows how the “weaker” sex managed quite well on their own. Lots of drama and strong women characters.

Jul 25, 2019

The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan
The novel takes place in 1940 England just before the bombing starts. It is written mainly through the letters and journal entries of Kitty a naive but talented 13yr old girl of the blue blood family on the hill, Kitty's beautiful older sister, Venetia who makes a game of playing with young men hearts unmindful of the consequences, the midwife Mrs. Paltry a shady character who gets involved in the switching of babies for the Brigadier, father, of Kitty and Venetia and not a nice man, Mrs Tilling who is a soft spoken widow who comes into her own and stands up for herself and others.
It is an easy read.I like the journal entry style as it gives insights into the characters and plot that the other characters do not have. I will read more of Jennifer Ryan

Mar 10, 2019

In many ways this was a delightful story, maybe a bit unrealistic, but still a good read. And who doesn't want to leave reality now and then? The characters were interesting, I enjoyed getting to know them. I do like books that tell stories of women during dangerous and scary times.

Jan 08, 2019

Absolutely loved this novel. I would say it has been a favourite to read from our book club. Full of spirit and hope in the midst of war, where the women of the village of Chilbury come together and form a choir and in so doing form bonds that defy all the terrible happening around them.

Dec 02, 2018

This is the debut novel of Jennifer Ryan. It is a treasure. Set at the beginning of World War II in a small village close to Dover. The pastor decides to disband the choir because, "you can't have a choir without men". The women, of course, don't agree. Told through letters and journal entries of several of the members of the choir. Tales of love, romance, birth, death, children being sent from the mainland to escape the war and the hardships of remaining home, while their sons and husbands are away at war. This is not a sappy, but rather an honest rendering of the common, daily lives of a village through the hardships of war.

Jul 03, 2018

I absolutely loved this book! A quick and easy read that hooks you in by page 50. Not a very complicated book but lots of different characters to keep your interest.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Dec 10, 2017

“Perhaps there is something good that had come from this war: everything has been turned around, all the unfairness made grimly plain. It has given us everyday women a voice - dared us to stand up for ourselves, and to stand up for others. We have less to lose in this world of chaos and death, after all.”

Dec 10, 2017

“If we don't think about our death until we die, how can we decide how we want to live?”


Add a Summary
SPL_Brittany Apr 03, 2017

While their men are off fighting the Nazis, the women in the English village of Chilbury struggle to carry on. Among the many changes that WWII brings to the little village of Chilbury is the demise of the church choir since all the men are away. With no choir, the women of the village band together under the leadership of spritely Miss Prim, and form the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, and use their joint song to lift up themselves and the community, as war tears through their lives.

Told through letters and diary entries written by several members of the choir and others from the village, Ryan gives each character a distinct voice. Among the members are Mrs. B who is both strong-willed and opinionated, and opposes the choir from the beginning; Timid Mrs. Tilling, a nurse and widow whose only child has been sent to fight in France leaving her bereft. Scheming Miss Paltry who is involved in a plot with the local aristocrat. There is beautiful Venetia Winthrop, eldest daughter of the aristocrat and village flirt; and Sylvie, a young Jew and refugee from Czech Republic who holds a mysterious secret, as well as a host of others who illuminate the true spirit of women on the home front.

Chilbury Ladies’ Choir will charm readers with its humour and dialogue, moving seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. Readers who have enjoyed the tight knit community of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, village life of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, and The Postmistress are sure to enjoy this novel.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top