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The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

by
4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  5,880 Ratings  ·  1,287 Reviews
"Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!"
As England enters World War II's dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to shutter the church's choir in the absence of men and inste
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Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Crown
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  • The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer    Ryan
    The Chilbury Ladies' Choir
    by
    Release date: Feb 14, 2017
    For readers of Lilac Girls and The Nightingale, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir unfolds the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of a village choir ...more

    Format: Kindle book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 100 copies available, 2158 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Jul 17 - Jul 31, 2017

    Countries available: US

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    Jennifer Ryan Thank you so much for all your wonderful messages! I'm so thrilled you enjoyed all the characters as much as I did. Such a lovely, warm book to write.…moreThank you so much for all your wonderful messages! I'm so thrilled you enjoyed all the characters as much as I did. Such a lovely, warm book to write.
    I'm hoping to write a sequel soon, as it would be fantastic for me to step into the shoes of those fabulous ladies once again.
    Could you tell me who your favorite characters were? I'm keeping a tally, just for fun!
    Thank you so much!
    Best wishes, Jennifer(less)
    Jennifer Ryan Thank you so much for your wonderful enthusiasm for those charming ladies! I really hope to write a sequel soon! Really excited to be getting back to…moreThank you so much for your wonderful enthusiasm for those charming ladies! I really hope to write a sequel soon! Really excited to be getting back to those warm and brave spirits!
    Best, Jennifer(less)
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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30)
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    Paromjit
    This is a hugely enjoyable novel delivered through the medium of letters and journals. It is a quintessentially British story set in Kent about a community of women contributing to the war effort, trying to survive and live life whilst the world as they know it is crumbling around them. Helping them to cope with the grief and loss is the Chilbury Ladies Choir set up by incomer Primrose, despite the opposition of Mrs B. who thinks its a scandal to have a choir without men. Women are having to ste ...more
    Diane S ☔
    Feb 28, 2017 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: lor
    Charming, delightful, alternating with heartbreak and life's realities in a small English village during WWII. With very few men left in the village, the women in the village decide it is their duty to keep things going, maintain normality as much as possible and this includes restarting the disbanded choir, with women only members.

    I love reading books that are written as letters, journal entries, articles etc. I honestly don't think I would have had such a positive reaction to this book of done
    ...more
    Annet
    Notice pinned to the Chillbury village hall noticeboard, Sunday 24th March, 1940: As all our male voices have gone to war, the village choir is to close following Cmdr Edmund Winthrop's funeral next Tuesday - The Vicar

    Lovely book! For the really good and relaxing read, great story, five stars! Sort of a feel-good book with both sad and happy events.... Great and colorful story buildup with each chapter written from the point of view of one of the book's main characters. Central roles for a numbe
    ...more
    Fran
    Jan 18, 2017 Fran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    "The Chilbury Ladies' Choir" is an epistolary novel providing a snapshot of the experiences of a group of mostly women during World War II over the time period from March-September 1940. Able bodied men have joined the war effort and the Vicar has decided to disband the choir saying that only a mixed chorus will do! Enter Primrose Trent, music professor. Prim restructures the choral music for women's voices only, the Vicar concedes defeat, and The Chilbury Ladies' Choir is born. Music is the sal ...more
    Margitte
    First funeral of the war, and our little village choir simply couldn’t sing in tune. “Holy, holy, holy” limped out as if we were a crump of warbling sparrows. But it wasn’t because of the war, or the young scoundrel Edmund Winthrop torpedoed in his submarine, or even the Vicar’s abysmal conducting. No, it was because this was the final performance of the Chilbury Choir. Our swan song.

    ...It was the funeral of Edmund Winthrop, the Brigadier’s despicable son who was blown up in a submarine last wee
    ...more
    Sabaa Tahir
    Jan 18, 2017 Sabaa Tahir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Read this book over a couple of months because I didn't want it to end. Such detail, such heart, and some excellent village intrigue and cabal, all set agains the backdrop of World War II. One of my favorite adult books of recent memory. Jennifer Ryan is going to be an auto-buy for me from now on.
    Liz
    Jan 29, 2017 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Reminding me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, this book is written as a series of letters, journal or diary entries. As opposed to a single writer, here we have a variety of writers of all ages and stripes. Starting at the beginning of WWII, the village is dealing with the absence of most of its men. The vicar disbands the choir as it lacks the necessary tenors and basses. But here comes a new music instructor to the nearby University and she forms The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. “I ...more
    Brenda
    Mar 23, 2017 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    3.5 stars.

    The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is an endearing, uplifting and refreshing story about five members of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir who are left behind as the men go off to fight in the war. It's a story of grief, deception, struggles, romance and hope as the threats from the Nazi’s reaches their village and shattering lives.

    Through journals and letters we see how the women grow and change, forge a bond and draw strength from togetherness.

    Even though I found there to be some dramatic plot l
    ...more
    Marilyn C.
    Apr 17, 2017 Marilyn C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: read-in-2017

    4.5 Stars

    The ladies of Chilbury, England are not going to let the devastation of war hold them back, as most of the men in their small village have gone off to fight and the women are now are left to support each other. The first thing they establish is The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, as they realize the power of music will not only help them get through the war, but help build a sense of community with the other townspeople.

    This is an endearing story that is filled with friendship and camaraderie
    ...more
    Malia
    "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." -Jennifer Ryan, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

    This book had a little bit of everything I look for in a story. Beautiful writing, multi-dimensional characters, a wonderfully illustrated setting, and a dose of rich history. The story of the formation of the Chilbur
    ...more
    Thomas
    Jan 22, 2017 Thomas rated it it was amazing
    Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans
    Recommended to Thomas by: NetGalley
    This was a lovely story about so much more than the ladies' Choir in Chilbury, England. It is set in 1940, from spring to fall. The lives of the women of this choir are told through letters and diaries.
    It is a village in the southeast of England dealing with war--bombs, rationing, men gone off to war, etc.
    There are stories of unrequited love, schoolgirl crushes, unwanted pregnancies and more. The characters are believable--
    a scheming midwife willing to arrange abortions
    a precocious 12 year old
    ...more
    Karen
    Feb 24, 2017 Karen rated it it was amazing
    A novel that unfolds via letters and journals? Yess!! I am a sucker for this type of book so snatched it up. And what a fabulous book it was. Jennifer Ryan’s “The Chillbury’s Ladies Choir” sits right up there with my other favorites written in this style. The letters and diaries truly felt authentic.

    “There is a way of life here that I don’t believe any war can crush, that will endure long after we’re gone.”

    This story begins in an English village in the early days of World War II after the men of
    ...more
    Diane Barnes
    I was a bit disappointed in this book. I looked forward to reading a WWII novel set in a English Village, an epistolary novel written from the viewpoint of the women left behind when the men went off to war. Let me say right off that it was a very good story with some intrigue, some mystery, and an unusual plot.
    What bothered me was that the letters and journals seemed a bit contrived. I've never yet seen a journal that quotes entire conversations verbatim, with quotation marks. Most of the journ
    ...more
    Kathryn
    I was totally in love with this audiobook book. It is a debut novel by Jennifer Ryan - I can only say it was enthralling. Set in southern England in a small village in 1940, it examines the life of the people as they start to face the reality of most of the men gone to war.

    Up until now there has been a choir, but now with the men gone the vicar has cancelled the choir. But... soon the women are rallying around Prim the choir mistress and they are setting up their own group.

    The story is told by
    ...more
    Carolyn
    Jul 16, 2017 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: historical, debut, ww2, 2017
    This is a lovely, warm, often humorous story about a small village in England and the social changes it undergoes during WW2. Chilbury in Kent is largely made up of women now that the men have gone off to war and the story is largely brought to life through the means of journal entries and letters written by the women. When the vicar disbands the church choir because there are no male voices left, a newcomer, Miss Primrose Trent (Prim) announces that she will start up a choir just for women to h ...more
    Cindy Burnett
    Dec 10, 2016 Cindy Burnett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: net-galley
    4.5 stars

    What a fabulous book! World War 2 historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and Jennifer Ryan writes a beautiful story with a very entertaining cast of characters. Chilbury is a small town in England close to the coast on the eastern side. As the story opens in 1941, most of the men have been called up to fight causing the vicar of the local church to disband the choir until after the war. A group of women, lead by a spirited newcomer, rebel against the vicar’s wishes and create
    ...more
    Laura Ayers
    Sep 08, 2016 Laura Ayers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: historical, netgalley
    The Chilbury Ladies' Choir is a sweet story about several women on England's coast during WWII. Told through a series of letters and journal entries, the book tells the story of Mrs. Tilling, Venetia and her sister Kitty, Silvie and Edwina Paltry. I was surprised, but mostly pleasantly so, at the number of issues that the author touched on: politics, war, child abuse, abortion, single mothers, and women's rights. It is somewhat reminiscent of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in ...more
    Faith
    I was expecting more from this book, but it turned out to be conventional women's fiction with gossip, jealousy and unwanted pregnancy set during WWII. Since the story was told in the form of letters and journal entries, it was a little disjointed. Also, this stylistic convention wasn't convincingly done. I don't think people usually include full conversations in their correspondence and journals. I didn't hate it, but it was a very slight story.

    I received a free copy of the ebook from the publi
    ...more
    Stephanie Anze
    "Its us women in charge now," she said in more of her old cavalier style. "The Chilbury Ladies Choir will rule the world."

    After the majority of the men leave to fight in the war, the town of Chilbury is left primarily with women. The vicar, believing that the choir will not work without men, disbands it despite the womens objections. That is until a newcomer to town rallies the women together and asembles the Chilbury Ladies Choir, the first women-only choir. While not everyone is in agreement,
    ...more
    Roman Clodia
    This comes with comparisons to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Summer Before The War: but the likenesses are superficial only (epistolary narrative, women in a home-front setting): Ryan is undoubtedly well-meaning but writes with the insight of a teenager - everything is writ large with very little subtlety or nuance, and it's ridiculously easy to see exactly how the various plots are going to work out from very early on. We even have to believe that someone high up in ...more
    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    World War II fiction has become a passion of mine, and this book is a true standout representing The Greatest Generation. Told in letters and journal entries written by those on the homefront in a quaint English village, this book is superbly written, emotionally rendered, and full of interesting characters. A must-read tale of friendship, love, and a community coming together when it is needed most. I hope the author plans to write a follow-up because I am not ready to let these characters go! ...more
    Carla Johnson-Hicks
    This story is set at the beginning of WWII on the coast of England in the small fictional town of Chilbury. Most of the men have left for the war effort and the ladies of Chilbury are saddened that the Vicar has disbanded the choir. He feels there are not enough male singers. Prim, a music professor newly moved to Chilbury thinks that the women should continue to sing in the choir and convinces the vicar. Once the women realize that there is nothing wrong with an all female choir, they begin to ...more
    Blaine DeSantis
    Mar 01, 2017 Blaine DeSantis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    A very nice first book by author Jennifer Ryan. This continues my pattern of reading books set in England and books that take place during the World Wars. Not complaining, because there are some very good new books coming out about the war and this is one of them. Here we focus on the beginning of the war in Britain and how it affects the small town of Chilbury, a town that has lost almost all of the male citizenry due to the war effort and wakes one morning to find out that the local church cho ...more
    Elaine
    I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started but it oh so quickly, within a page, it had totally won me over! It is a delightful story, told from four different points of view, set in the village of Chilbury in Kent. It is 1940 and most of the local men have gone off to war - indeed it starts with the funeral service for Edmund Winthrop, the son of the local big wig and a vicious bully killed in a torpedoed submarine. It is at the Church that the notice that this is the last time the choir ...more
    Eileen
    Apr 21, 2017 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Although a couple of the plot lines seemed quite contrived, this was an enjoyable story set in England during WWII. The book did convey the prevailing atmosphere of the times, with the men off at war, and the women left to cope and worry. Anxiety overshadowed their very existence, as the threat from enemy bombs was constant. Also fear of the dreaded telegram crept into many lives.
    A turning point occurred, however, when the recently diminished choir found courage to proceed without any male voice
    ...more
    Asheley
    Jun 17, 2017 Asheley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: audiobook
    It's hard to find things to say about this book that haven't already been said. The setting is brilliant, the characters are wonderful and quirky, and the epistolary style fits the story perfectly. What stands out to me most about this book is that it is so utterly charming. I mean, I felt every emotion at some point in the story, but this book charmed the heck out of me and I think that's really wonderful for a story that is truly based around WWII. My experience with that time period is that e ...more
    ❀⊱Rory⊰❀
    3.5 Stars.

    A bit heavy handed and soap opera-ish at times, but enjoyable. The writing is solid and the characters, for the most part, likeable.
    It follows the lives of several English women, living in a small village in Kent, during the early months of World War II. There is choir practice, intrigue, scandal, secrets, romance, tragedy and a few bombs. No jam making though and only one child evacuee. The ending seemed a bit open, with years of the war left and some unresolved story lines, hinting a
    ...more
    Donna
    This WWII Historical Fiction book was a solid 3 stars for me. 'Cozy' seems to be a word that some of the reviews are using to describe this. I would have to agree. It was cozy and had a certain charm to it. I liked that the author tried new ways of saying things (some were more successful than others.) This kept things from bogging down. I liked the characters; they were wonderfully quirky. I think that was the best part. Some of the stories were predictable, but I think it all still worked toge ...more
    Andrea
    Dec 21, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This is a lovely book, which is written in the form of letters and diary entries. The men of Chilbury go off to fight in the war and due to the lack of male voices the vicar shuts down the choir. The women of the village rise up and reinstate the choir as a ladies only group and use it as a way to cope with all that is going on around them. The women all pull together and help each other with the different challenges that the war confronts them with. I think the book is well written and I enjoye ...more
    Karen White
    Jul 02, 2017 Karen White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Absolutely loved everything about this book! The setting, plot, characters, and writing were just fabulous. Highly recommend to fans of The Guernsey LIterary and Potato Peel Pie Society as well as to readers of all good fiction.
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    15504358
    Hello, and thank you for being interested in my author page. I'm the author of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, which came out in February, 2017. It is my very first novel. Before becoming a writer, I was a nonfiction book editor, editing books about politics and economics, travel and health, and biography and memoir. I worked in London before moving to the Washington, DC, area ten years ago with my hu ...more
    More about Jennifer Ryan...

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    “Then I looked out onto the horizon myself and realized that loss is the same wherever you go: overwhelming, inexorable, deafening. How resilient human beings are that we can learn slowly to carry on when we are left all alone, left to fill the void as best we can. Or disappear into it.” 7 likes
    “Human nature defeats me sometimes, how greed and spite can lurk so divisively around the utmost courage and sacrifice.” 7 likes
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