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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 four or five characters through letters and journals. However it is seamless and actually doesn't feel like letters and diaries. Rather the story told from different points of view. That's where the narrators come in, they do an amazing and outstanding work of bringing this book to life. By itself its a great story, with the narration absolutely brilliant. I see on Jennifer Ryan's website that the book has had the TV rights optioned by the makers of the makers of Downton Abbey. I sure have my fingers crossed that this will go ahead.
The characters are really interesting, they feel like real people, some of them are rogues and worse, one of them rather precocious but delightful, others kind and compassionate and already the war is changing many of them. The women are strong and resilient and were mostly a joy to follow, even the rogue amongst them.
This is a very simple story about a small community thrown upside down by the Second World War. It's a bit parochial, but a really good listen.
The characters are all well defined and recognisable with their personalities coming through loud and clear.
I guess it's a bit silly in places, but that didn't put me off, just made me smile.
The narrators are excellent, capturing the personalities of the characters just right.
But the really lovely part of the book is the choral music. Beautifully sung, these small excerpts of music gradually overtake the dialogue and I found it quite moving.
This is a lightweight book, no real cliff hanging, hold your breath moments- just a delightful story about a small community gripped by war.
Worth a listen in my view.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I loved this book. It had me laughing, crying and entertained me throughout. It was good to have World War 2 presented from a female perspective and in such an entertaining package. The performance of the readers matched the script, brilliant.
I would highly recommend this book.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Chilbury Ladies' Choir again? Why?
Yes. Loved it all and want to revisit WW2 in Kent with Kitty and Mrs Tilling.
What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Different actors for each part.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Any additional comments?
Loved the addition of choir music - could be more and louder.
Made a nice change from the usual books I listen to - a "light" no stress