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The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir

Cover: 'The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir'

Staff Review: "The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir" by Jennifer Ryan

★★★★

As the men are heading off to war in 1940, the small village of Chilbury is subject to the ramifications of encroaching war, but a free-spirited female professor of music decides (to the shock of many) that the village choir need not be a casualty and forms a ladies’ choir to take its place. Through journal entries, letters, and other written correspondence by ladies in the choir (and a scheming midwife), we learn the stories of women-folk young (thirteen-year-old Kitty) and older (the widowed Mrs. Tilling) on the British home front early in WWII as they find themselves called upon to redefine themselves and their places in the world. There’s a variety of storylines (baby-swapping schemes, adolescent angst, and air raids) and narrative voices, but the story comes together nicely. Even though a few of the plotlines were a little predictable, I found myself drawn into the stories and rooting for the women, and I think the delightful audiobook (which I highly recommend) deserves some of the credit. Readers who were fond of Mrs. (Isobel) Crawley of Downton Abbey are likely to be drawn to Mrs. Tilling as she comes into her own. Recommended for fans of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" and other fictional stories about life on the home front.

Audience: adults | Genre: historical fiction

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