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The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

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really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  13,652 Ratings  ·  2,669 Reviews

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 when the Vicar decides to close the choir until the men return, all seems lost.

But co

...more
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Crown Publishing Group
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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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Paromjit
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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Diane S ☔
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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Fran
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"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
PorshaJo
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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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
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Sabaa Tahir
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Diane Barnes
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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Cheri
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

4.5 Stars

"NOTICE PINNED TO THE CHILBURY 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


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 p
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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
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Brenda - Traveling Sister
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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Marilyn C.
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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Thomas
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans
Recommended to Thomas by: NetGalley
Shelves: literature, 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
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Karen
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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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
Jan
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
"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
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Cindy Burnett
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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Carolyn
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, ww2, historical, debut
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
Faith
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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Marialyce
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Laura
Sep 08, 2016 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
Stephanie Anze
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"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,
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister
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
Dale Harcombe
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The year is 1940. The majority of men are at war, so the vicar decides to abandon the choir. Heaven forbid they should have a choir without male voices! When a newcomer suggests an all-female choir, there are cries of outrage. And some come from one or two of the women. But eventually common sense prevails and the Chilbury Ladies choir is formed. The story of this choir, and some of its members and the goings on in the village in Kent is told through letters or diary entries by various people. I ...more
Karen White
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Eileen
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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❀⊱Rory⊰❀
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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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
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Hello, 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 husband and two children.

I was born in a village in Kent
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More about Jennifer Ryan
“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.” 14 likes
“Human nature defeats me sometimes, how greed and spite can lurk so divisively around the utmost courage and sacrifice.” 14 likes
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