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The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  26,135 ratings  ·  4,307 reviews
Librarian’s note: This is a previously-published edition of
Kindle ASIN: B01FPH2N9I.

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.

Kent, 1940.

In the idyllic village of Chilbury change is afoot. Hearts are breaking as sons and husbands leave to fight, and wh

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Crown
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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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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
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
Diane S ☔
Feb 28, 2017 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
Jan 18, 2017 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
How could you not like a book that uses the word 'higgledy-piggledy' in it....multiple times. The Chilbury Ladies Choir is quite the fascinating read. A different take on WW2 and how people survive during this time. Don't get me wrong, any book on WW2 and the horrors is difficult to read. But this one, I found both sad and fascinating, heartbreaking and funny.

The story is told over a series of letters, newspaper articles, and journal entries and switches back and forth between these and various
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
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
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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
Sabaa Tahir
Jan 18, 2017 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. ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 stars.
I have conflicting thoughts and emotions about this book that i have just finished, and I can’t quite put my finger on what the history wants to give to the reader.
As a first impact it seemed to me a novel that never managed to take off taking a clear and precise direction, so many ideas and beautiful aspects but never fully developed...
Let’s take the musical aspect, The Choir, pivot on which the narration turns, for me the author has never been able to give to the reader a taste why
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing

4.5 Stars


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

Tuesday, 26th March, 1940"

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, told through letters and journals, and “lists” of things, is a story set in a small village in England, as WWII ravaged the landscape, lives and changed an entire generation, and those that followed. A town with a few
"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
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
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
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
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, kobo
Prim was right. It's not about winning. It's about finding humanity in the face of this war. It's about finding hope when everything around us is collapsing.

This was a great WWII centric book that takes place in an English village in 1940. The entire novel is a collection of letters, journals, diaries, and telegrams written by a number of women in the community. Jennifer Ryan writes a compelling story about a group of women who join together and sing their hearts out to uplift their community
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans
Recommended to Thomas by: NetGalley
Shelves: netgalley, literature
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
Marilyn C.
Apr 17, 2017 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
Karen R
Feb 24, 2017 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
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
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
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
I simultaneously read a Kindle e-book edition and an Overdrive audiobook edition, both borrowed from my public library. Pandemic style reading.

The audio was wonderful. There is often singing and music when singing and music were happening in the story. Lovely. I wish it was done for all the songs/music.

The characters are wonderful and varied. Some are a real hoot. They’re all interesting and thoroughly entertaining! There were a few that really touched my heart. The story, stories really, have
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: debut, 2017, ww2, historical
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 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
Stephanie Anze
"It´s 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 women´s 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 agreeme
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Music takes us out of ourselves, away from our worries and tragedies, helps us look into a different world, a bigger picture."

The Chilbury Ladies Choir sang their hearts out!! It was a song of joy, strength , and resilience as they bonded together in a steadfast Home Front!!

The story takes place in the English village of Chilbury, in 1940. The Vicar declared that the choir be disband because the men were off to war. The Ladies of the choir rebelled and formed their own choir~The Chilbury Ladies
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir: A Novel is a light-hearted WW2 story that recounts the resilience of the people in the Kentish village of Chilbury over six months in 1940. The novel, which takes the form of letters, posters, notes, diary and journal entries, documents the fortitude and strength of the women folk who stand up to be counted when all the able bodied men have gone to war. It is funny (except it is not) to hear of the women perfecting the three-tier-cake stand lunge (“Point, lunge, thrus ...more
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
Thank you to NetGalley, Jennifer Ryan and Crown Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this publication, and allowing me to provide you with an unbiased review.

"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"

Through notices, letters and journal and diary entries, THE CHILBURY LADIES' CHOIR unfolds the s
Karen White
Jul 02, 2017 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.
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars for a lovely story of woman who find their inner strength during WW 2. With the men all gone to war, the ladies step up and find that they are able to do everything the men had done. In their newfound abilities, they find an ability to see themselves in totally different lights. They are not the docile meek woman anymore but acquire the wherewithal to be what was needed. The characters are great, so real and yet quite able to stand up for themselves sometimes not for the g ...more
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Jennifer grew up in the British countryside with a penchant for climbing trees and a wonderful grandmother who told her hilarious stories about the Second World War.

As an adult, she became a nonfiction book editor, first editing politics and economics at The Economist Books, and then moving on to the BBC, DK, and other publishers, editing books on health, cooking, wine, and history.

All this time,

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