“Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!”
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’. Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir”, the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.
Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit — a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn’t understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past — we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir’s collective voice reverberates in her individual life.
In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the home front, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict.
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan is one to love. I am always intrigued by stories about World War II. This one was just that…but much more. Jennifer Ryan brings to readers a story about the women on the home front. Women band together during these terrible and emotional times. Husbands and sons away fighting at war. Life is interrupted and everything opens up…the women are able to step in and do much more. A choir group is dismissed and all seems lost. But not yet. One determined woman goes out and reaches the ladies. They form a new choir…The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. From there, I got to meet a bunch of interesting woman whose stories varied as did their personalities. A refreshing piece of literature. Bold, engaging, and intriguing. I was hooked. Secrets, a crime, and love are all wrapped in inside this stunning story. Overall, I recommend The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir to readers worldwide.