Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

Ryan, Jennifer. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir. New York: Crown, 2017.

This is the story of how the village of Chilbury coped with World War II. Many of the men were at war. The ladies, inspired by a newcomer to the community, organized a choir when there were not enough men to continue the parish choir. No single woman is singled out as a narrator. Instead it is told through the voices of several women, often in letter form. This format often fails to deliver, but Ryan made it work. The narrative includes incidents of village life as well as personal ethical decisions. The bombings touch home for the villagers. It is not quite as "homey" as some novels focusing on village life, partially due to the time in which it is set, but it probably paints a more realistic portrait of it. Enough humor is interspersed to make up for the occasional unpleasantness. This review is based on an electronic galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

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