The Chilbury Ladies' Choir
Author: Jennifer Ryan
The Chilbury Ladies Choir is a beautiful epistolary novel. The story comes to life through the letters and journal entries written by the women of Chilbury. The women share their fears, triumphs and challenges. Choir practices and performances bring them together and give them support and hope during a bleak time. One of my favorite scenes involves Prim Trent bringing the choir together to give thanks for the soldiers who have given their lives and to de-stress. Prim teaches the women about Gregorian Chant, and they sing together. Each woman left practice that night with peace and hope renewed in their souls.
This is a moving and beautiful book. It shows an entire village pulling together to survive war-time horrors. Some rose to the occasion and became a support structure for everyone around them, and others were pulled down into criminal activity. The book doesn't sugar coat the effects of war on village life, but shows the reality through the eyes of the women left at home.
I'm usually not a big fan of epistolary novels. But this one is well-written and wonderful. I highly recommend this book to any reader who enjoys historical or women's fiction.
This is Jennifer Ryan's debut novel. To find out more about the author, check out her website: http://jenniferryanbooks.com/
**I voluntarily read an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from Crown Publishing via NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.**