I have received a copy The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this honest review.
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. The novel is set during World War II.
This story is about a local choir who was at first being shut down because there were no men available to sing with the women until Miss Primrose Trent arrives and decides to make it an all women choir. The choir is brought together to be a positive outlet during a time of war. The ladies and girls in the choir come from various backgrounds but work wonderfully together. Thru the journal entries from each woman (nurse, midwife, sisters, and refugee), we learn secrets of love, devotion, and deceit. Not everyone is who they seem at first and there is tremendous growth in the ladies as they take on the challenge of being a woman only choir during a terrible time of war. They experience laughter, love, and tragedy. I enjoyed how the story was developed thru each of their views. I found that appealing because it makes you image how people really may have felt during that time period. There aren’t too many stories set during World War II that have a comedic type of appeal to them. I was able to more than just the feeling of dread. I was able to laugh with some of these ladies. Although the story is told thru the women, you do get a feel of how the men acted who weren’t at the front fighting and even those who came home to visit from the fighting. Some men were supportive, some were abusive, and there were those who were loving. Being in the choir gave strengths to each of the women that were needed to help them develop as people. Jennifer Ryan’s style of writing made this an enjoyable and easy read. I look forward to reading more from her.