Today, Kimberly is here with a review of The Chilbury Ladies Choir, find out her thoughts and which cover Kimberly liked more.
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Review By Kimberly Livingston
And so begins The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan. Luckily for the village of Chilbury and the surrounding area, the women tolerated no such thing. With the encouragement of the new choirmaster, Prim, the women found themselves able to pull together both in music and strength during the impending Nazi invasion. The story of wartime England is told through each of the main characters’ letters and journal entries, a diary of sorts for the reader to glimpse into their private worlds. In the acknowledgements by Ms. Ryan, it was noted that “At the beginning of the war, an organisation known as Mass Observation began, encouraging ordinary individuals to keep diaries and journals and send them into the headquarters, where some would be published in a newsletter.”
While each chapter is in the writing of a different character, the book still reads as the wonderful novel that it is. Mrs. Tilling and Kitty Winthrop’s diary entries, as well as Edwina Paltry and Venetia Winthrop’s personal letters, each add their own voice to the horrors, victories, and celebrations of the time. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir captures what it was like to be a woman in the 1940’s; having to suddenly work outside the home to help with the wartime effort as all the men had gone to the front and the realisation that they could be independent without those same men.
When I read I rarely visualise a story in my mind, but this one played like a movie, and what a beautiful movie it would make! (Hint Hint to producers!) This novel is one for my bookshelf!
I admit, I prefer the US cover to the UK one, and will be buying that copy. They both show the village with the warplanes and the music, but the US version, with its sunset colours and sketches of women, captures the story more. I believe this cover speaks to the heart of the book: the women of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. These women are rich of character and varied as can be; humorous, romantic, demanding, heartbroken. In the end, each and everyone proves the power of song and love.
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
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