Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Chilbury Ladies' ChoirThe Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars

"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."

Stories of strong women in WWII, my favorite things in all the books of historical fiction. I loved this book so much, I loved all of it; didn't want this perfect thing to end.

This book is told through letters or diaries, and it chronicles the narratives of the different townspeople that were left behind in Chilbury, England. There is solid female friendship, feminism motherly figures, and an overall kinship and connection between the members of this all-women's choir. The intricacies and differences of a small village compared to the setting of other urban centers that we often see was extraordinarily done.

There is a colorful collection of stories that come to paint a beautiful mural. We've got Mrs.Tilling, my favorite character who provided motherly moral support and was a lovely role model all around. Venetia, a flirty and attractive women who is just coming into her adulthood. The emotional intense and extremely perceptive thirteen year old Kitty, who provides us with information. Sylvie, a young Jewish evacuee who is terrified about what has become of her family. Edwina, desperate to go to help her sister, while doing something that she will regret.

The two romantic subplots felt rushed, because of the wartime and the realization that we don't know what will happen tomorrow. I do understand why the author did this in the context, but I just found a flaw in the pace, because everything happened almost two quickly in the two romantic subplots, and it didn't reach the impact and potential that it could have. I also would have liked for some of the characters to maybe write back with a note, so I could get more of a sense of who they are as recipients.

So many deep layers are presented here, of love, loss, sorrow, secrets, and what can happen to those bound by them. We come to see throughout the book how strongly these independent women become reliant on eachother, how deeply their lives are intertwined from the beginning, and the compassion and grace that permeates the church light with song.

The female friendships, the feminism, all of it was so delightful and enjoyable to read. Would most definitively highly recommend.

**Thanks to Bloggingforbooks and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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