Friday, February 24, 2017

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir
by Jennifer Ryan

Publisher: Crown Publishing
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  "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. 

Kritters Thoughts:  A book told through letters, journal entries and so on was such a new inventive way to approach the subject of World War II and set in a small town that is on the outskirts, but close enough to have fear of the impending doom.

I would say it was hard to keep all the ladies straight from the Chilbury Ladies' Choir and make sure I could remember who was who and what was what.  It may have been harder given the style of the book, but in the same moment I loved how it was written.  I read this one slower because I took a minute at the beginning of each chapter to remember who was talking and where they were coming from.  I loved that the characters varied in age and station in life so you saw the full view of the village.  

I have read numerous books on World War II, too many to count at this point, so to have a fresh take is actually kind of hard!  I am not a big cryer with books, but this one definitely had my heart strings pulled because I just was so invested in the characters and how they were going to survive.  

Again another great debut and excited to see what Jennifer Ryan has up next.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


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