The Chilbury Ladies' Choir | The Library Girl Reads

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Expected Publication: February 2017

*I got a free copy of this ebook from netgalley for review purposes, a fact which does not influence my review.*

When the men of the English village of Chilbury have all gone off to fight in the war, the church choir is disbanded. Leave it to a group of plucky women to band together and insist on the importance of singing for their community and morale. Thus, the Chilbury Ladies Choir is formed.

This book appealed to me in three ways, so I will approach this review from each angle.
1.) The epistolary style
2.) The WWII time period
3.)Ladies Choirs --- or just ladies being awesome.

1.) The epistolary style
I'm a sucker for books framed as diaries or written correspondence, so the fact that Chilbury was billed as such, was the immediate draw for me. I enjoyed it, as the small segments makes for a quicker paced read, but I had a hard time with the believability of the letter and journal writing style Ryan employed. In particular, Venetia's letters to Angela felt a bit too expositional for them to be realistic. I've read, and even *written* some very detailed letters, conveying conversations and all, but they didn't read like polished prose. -- but that was pretty much my only beef with the book. Lets move on.

2.) The WWII time period
Another weakness of mine is this period, and Chilbury didn't fail me here! The setting and characters felt appropriately authentic, and I was practically casting them in my head with BBC actors for a mini-series. (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BBC!) It was like sitting down for Masterpiece theater on Sunday night. ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL!

3.) Ladies Choirs --- or just ladies being awesome
The name sake and heart of this book, the moments with the choir was really the shining gem of this book to me. A lifelong choral singer, and general appreciator of music, (and those wonders of Welsh/British hymns. *coughCough* I Vow To Thee, My Country *coughCough*) I resonate deeply with the themes of music for healing, and helping one through hard trials of the soul. There are plenty of quotes I'd love to share on this, but can't due to advanced reading copy restrictions... but I'll try to update the review once the book is published with those quotes :)
I've read plenty of the women of wartime stepping up taking charge and ownership of their lives and community when their men were away fighting, and this book handled that subject matter exceptionally. I particularly loved the Mrs. Tilling storyline, as she had the most character development of the whole cast.

I will definitely be recommending this book to my library for acquisition, and recommending to several patrons that frequent my circ desk.
And to you! Look for this lovely on shelves in February!

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