The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

A Novel

Book - 2017
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Letters and journals reveal the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of five members of a village choir during World War II as they band together to survive the upheavals of war and village intrigue on the English home front.
Publisher: New York : Crown, [2017].
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781101906750
1101906758
Characteristics: 371 pages : map ; 25 cm.

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“The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a powerful story of both hope and despair. Told through diary entries, this is a wonderful glimpse into life in a small British town during WWII. Ryan is a skilled writer who gives each diary entry a clear voice: Mrs. Paltry is dishonest and scheming, Venetia, the ... Read More »


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brangwinn
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.

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vitareader
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

k
KJP48
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.

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firebird770
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.

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21221018293347
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.

c
CMaxted
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.

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FabulouslyWeird
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.

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ConMartin
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: http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-chilbury-ladies-choir-book-review.html

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cknightkc
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.”

c
cknightkc
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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