The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan 5

“As I walked, I found myself thinking about how my view of the world has changed. Fancy me giving a viscount a few strong words! And defying the law – taking a decision into my own hands to help this wounded man. Perhaps there is something good that has come from this war: everything has been turned around, all the unfairness made grimly plain. It has given us everyday women a voice – dared us to stand up for ourselves, and to stand up for others.”

A notice has been pinned to the church doors in Chilbury informing the women of the town that the village choir will be no more since all the men have gone off to war. While upset about the decision, most are willing to go along with the decision until Miss Prim, a music teacher displaced from London, decides they should have an all-female choir. Mrs. Tilling, a rule-follower, joins as her first step in leaving her small, comfort zone during the war.

A novel set in a small European town during World War II needs to stand apart from all the others written in the same setting. In focusing on how the women left behind in Chilbury deal with the men being gone, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir does just that. I received an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a fair review from the publisher. I requested a copy because I had seen several ads for the book and thought it looked interesting. I also chose it as the April Online Book Club Book.

While the choir sets the backdrop for the novel, the story focuses on how several women and young girls deal with the war in their town. An older gentleman who cannot fight anymore demands that his wife produce a son and is willing to go to any means to have one. He strikes a deal with the midwife. A young girl comes to stay with his family having been whisked away from Europe and her family to try and save her life. His eldest daughter falls in love with the new artist in town, but what is his background? His youngest daughter observes the entire town as she tries to figure out how to win the heart of the man she thinks she loves. When tragedy strikes their town, they all have to come together and survive.

The stories of the town are told through letters and journal entries. In some books, that makes it hard to follow and figure out who is talking, but in this book, the characters are developed quickly and it is easy to read. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any adult who likes historical fiction.

Buy the book here (affiliate link).

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About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.