Wednesday, March 1, 2017
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, by Jennifer Ryan
An excellently written novel of women in a war-torn English village bravely carrying on, uniting as part of the Home Front. The plot was driven by a series of journals and letters, as the main characters each wrote of her own personal challenges, triumphs, and setbacks, and gave her own unique perspective on the events they all experienced. The Ladies' Choir was begun as a response to the absence of most of the men of the village, due to World War II. They did surprisingly well - even surprising themselves when they won a regional contest. Other complications to the plot included two infants born on the same day; one to the schoolteacher whose husband was in the military, and the other to the wealthy family whose only son had recently been shot down and killed in battle. It was very necessary that they have a son to carry on the family name and fortune. A newcomer to town raised suspicions. An artist, he had no visible means of supporting himself, and engaged in some very dubious dealings with shady characters. Two young girls, sisters, come of age in these perilous times, and learn about love and loss. A middle-aged widow, whose only son has just gone off to war, agrees to host one of the Senior Staff of the nearby War Center. A Jewish child refugee is housed with the Winthrops.
This is one of my favorite books, and I plan to keep it awhile and reread it. I highly recommend it, and I will look for more books by this author. This book was sent to me as part of the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing. I was asked to provide an honest review in exchange.