The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir written by Jennifer Ryan, publisher The Borough Press, is available from the 23rd February 2017 in ebook, hardcover, audio download and audio CD format.
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The village of Chilbury in Kent is about to ring in some changes.
This is a delightful novel of wartime gumption and village spirit that will make your heart sing out.
In the idyllic village of Chilbury change is afoot. Hearts are breaking as sons and husbands leave to fight, and when the Vicar decides to close the choir until the men return, all seems lost.
But coming together in song is just what the women of Chilbury need in these dark hours, and they are ready to sing. With a little fighting spirit and the arrival of a new musical resident, the charismatic Miss Primrose Trent, the choir is reborn.
Some see the choir as a chance to forget their troubles, others the chance to shine. Though for one villager, the choir is the perfect cover to destroy Chilbury’s new-found harmony.
Uplifting and profoundly moving, THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR explores how a village can endure the onslaught of war, how monumental history affects small lives and how survival is as much about friendship as it is about courage.
I have just finished reading this delightful, uplifting, inspiring, heart warming novel and I’m flabbergasted that The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is Jennifer Ryan’s first novel. The words written by Jennifer Ryan were so profound I could visualise the scenes and characters in my head played out on a big screen and I’m hoping one day we will get the chance to see this wonderful story on our TV screens.
This story is set in 1940 in a quiet, sleepy village in Kent that up-to-yet hasn’t seen much devastation with the war. Most of the men in the village have joined up with the war help so the village is pretty much left with just the women to hold the fort. The Vicar has declared that the choir is to close due to all the male voices currently indisposed. The ladies of the choir are not pleased and feel lost without the choir. The ladies between themselves and with the help of Prim, a music tutor who has just moved to the village, decide to keep the choir up and running. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is born and sets to keep spirits up during this unsettling time. The joy of singing together in a choir brings the ladies of the village together and the worries of those missing loved ones are shared. The choir becomes a formidable force and gain strength within themselves and their voices become clearer and sweeter.
Diary keeping was encouraged in these tough times to write down their thoughts, their daily routines and rituals, their hope for the future. I loved how the author, Jennifer Ryan, split each chapter up with these journal entries from different characters in the story. We see the story set out from different perspectives. From women and girls of all ages seeing the war with different eyes. One young woman in particular in the village was using the war and the choir to cover for the most immoral agreement between one of the village’s high ranked and obnoxious men and herself. Greed was in the forefront between these two unscrupulous people.
Disaster was to strike shattering the very soul of the village but the ladies of the choir came together offering respite for themselves and also giving hope and encouragement to others.
This story was just so lovely. It wasn’t all hearts and flowers though. Jennifer Ryan opened our eyes to the world as it was in a very upsetting time. Lives and livelihoods were lost but life had to go on and the women all over the country found an inner strength to keep everything going. From the devastation of loss we could feel light and warmth with love finding its way through. A truly, wonderful debut novel that I simply adored. 5/5*
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I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this novel. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.