The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, a novel written by Jennifer Ryan, opens in the English village of Chilbury in March of 1940. The village’s choir wasn’t always comprised of just ladies, but most of the men were now fighting in the war. As a result, the Vicar posts a notice stating that after an upcoming funeral the choir will be disbanded. With all the other hardships the women had endured, this seemed to be the last straw. Under the direction and guidance of a very special woman, the unthinkable happens: The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is formed even though some members were reluctant. Why can’t they sing without men? While their singing is of huge importance, theirs is a story about that and much more.
The format of the book is comprised of a combination of journal entries and personal letters, each penned by the main characters. Seamlessly, each chapter is in the voice of one of the protagonists and covers a period of seven tumultuous months. There is a great deal that happens to this once quiet village and with each loss, challenge and change we watch the characters adapt and try to cope. Amid the pain, intrigue and sorrows the characters often surprise themselves with their strengths and growth
In my opinion, the book is historical fiction at its best. Beautifully written and filled with memorable and well developed characters. When I finished reading the book I was left wanting more. I am hoping for a sequel.I highly recommend reading this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.