Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan

    • The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan
    • Published February 14, 2017
    • First novel by author

    • Taking place in 1940, just after the start of World War II, the story concentrates on the fortunes of the women in the town of Chilbury, England. 
      • It is located in Kent, notable because it is between London and the coast, where German bombers will soon be passing over.
    • With the men off to war the vicar cancels the church choir because he doesn't think it will work without men's voices.
    • A female music professor comes up with a way to keep the choir going, now called --- you guessed it! --- the Chilbury Ladies' Choir.
    • Due to class differences some of the women have a hard time adapting to new circumstances but most of them rise to the challenge.
    • By the end of the story the bombs have started to fall.
    • The novel is told from the point of view of several characters via their letters and diary entries so is thus an epistolary novel.

    • I really enjoyed this book and hope for a sequel someday. The story only goes up to September 1940 and there is so much more war to come for the women in town.
    • The level of description that the writers include in their letters or diaries is somewhat unrealistic: very, very detailed in the way of a novel but not a 13-year-old girl's diary!
      • This did not take away from my enjoyment of the story but I can see that it might be a dealbreaker for those who prefer strict realism.
      • To me, it's a novel told in a different form. I say, go with it and enjoy the ride!
    • I just love the slice of life stories that take place in England and this one is no exception.
    • Recommended for those who enjoy novels about England and World War II. Some people have mentioned in their reviews that it reminds them of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (I read this but too long ago to recall specifically). Others mentioned the PBS series "Home Fires" which I haven't watched.
    • ★ ★ ★ ★

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