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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 instead carry on singing. Resurrecting themselves as The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves and the community as the war tears through their lives.
Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit - a timid widow worried over her son at the front, the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist, her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn't understand, a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past - we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir's collective voice reverberates in her individual life. In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the home front, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict.
This audiobook includes popular versions of classical music sung by women's choirs, including the songs "Abide with Me" and "All Creatures", "Ave Maria", and "The Lord's My Shepherd".
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sara on 04-17-17
Ryan usually writes Contemporary Romance novels and, to me, this foray into Historic Fiction set in the early days of WWII Great Britain draws heavily on that style. It was all just a bit too heavy on the romance for me. The characters were often so thinly developed and stereo-typical that at times I had trouble keeping people straight. I agree with another reviewer--the time period was such a slim slice of history, so very early in the war, that I too wondered if this wasn't book one of a planned series? It was way too early in the war for all the triumph expressed--the book ends in fall of 1940 after all.
Some of the action was so improbable and unbelievable that I repeatedly deliberated about giving up on the book. In the end, it took me forever to finish listening and stay engaged. Honestly, I loved the premise of the story and had such high hopes. In parts, I thought Ryan did a good job capturing the feeling of what it is like to sing in a choir. I loved the idea of having an actual choir sing in the narration BUT then to ruin it by having the narrators read over the singing was just too much. What a waste.
Recommended only if you love romance novels in historic settings. I kept hoping it would become something more...it just never happened.
34 of 40 people found this review helpful
By Lee on 11-05-17
the story draws you in
About half way through the story I realized that I cared about these characters and wanted to know how their lives would progress. it provides another experience of the impact of the war on the women left at home, how they supported each other and gained in strength and capability.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful