The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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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


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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.

Jun 07, 2018

Historical Fiction is one of my favourite genres. It combines a good story with historical elements which add an added flare of realism to the story itself. I loved this book. I got into the story enough when a horrific plot of deceit was unleashed by father of an established home with a midwife of greed inspired motives. Each character has a real life essence that anyone could come across a character that they grow to love and another that they are not fond of. Being historical fiction it is a story based entirely on the writings of the characters either in letters or journals. It is an interesting format to have used but it created a world based entirely in Chilbury. Again I just loved this book.

samdog123 Mar 28, 2018

I've been reading a lot of books about WWII in the last year. Some have been better than others, but this one is right at the top of the list! A cosy little village called Chilbury is the home of women who are missing their husbands, sons and relatives. When a local music teacher suggests they form a choir, it enriches everyone's spirits and provides a sense of pride and accomplishment. The characters are terrific, especially Mrs. Tilling and young Venetia. Both grow by leaps and bounds throughout the book and I enjoyed reading about them every step of the way.

MVBOOKCLUB Mar 11, 2018

Wednesday members absolutely loved this booked. It has something in it for everyone. There is humour, sadness, hope and history using music and the choir to connect everything.
Sparked lots of conversation.

Dec 31, 2017

This was a light, enjoyable read about how the women in a small English village keep the home fires burning but without the depth (or editing!) of other WWII novels I have enjoyed this year such as The Alice Network or While Still We Live or The Women in the Castle.

Here is a link to my review:

Dec 10, 2017

For fans of THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY is THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR. Set during the early days of WWII in a quiet English village in Kent it tells the home-front efforts of 5 memorable choir members: a middle-aged widow, 2 teenage daughters of a local aristocrat, a young Jewish refugee, and a scheming midwife. Their various stories intertwine and are told via letters and diary/journal entries. Author Jennifer Ryan stays true to each character’s voice throughout the book, and though some plot twists may be telegraphed well in advance, it’s still a charming and thoroughly satisfying read.

Dec 05, 2017

If you enjoy WWII stories as I do, pick up this title. It's a light, quick read taking place just after Dunkirk; told mostly through letters and diary entries.

Nov 02, 2017

I expected something on the order of the British TV series "Home Fires'. This book is a rather tacky soap opera.

Ditto comments below from wyenotgo Ottawa Public Library. Great background but not great literature.

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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?”


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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.

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