Book review: A WWII tale

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir

By Jennifer Ryan

(Fiction, 371 pages, 2017)


It is March 1940 during World War II in the English countryside, and the vicar has closed the choir because the men in the choir have gone to war. But the women start up the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, led by the free-spirited Miss Prim.

This story is told through different characters’ letters and journals. Mrs. Tilling’s son has gone to fight and she must give a room in her small house to a huge, brusque Colonel.

A midwife is offered a large amount of money to switch babies at birth.

Young sisters Venetia and Kitty are growing up. Venetia has always had the boys following her and been the center of attention. But she falls for a stranger and can’t help loving him. And Kitty thinks that she is in love with one of Venetia’s admirers.

Miss Prim enters the Ladies’ Choir in a singing competition and the choir is not sure that they can do it. The war is coming closer to them and shattering events happen. But Mrs. Tilling and the choir find their voices. They realize that they must rely on themselves and each other. This is a moving story about love, sacrifice and the power of music.

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Robbin Bailey

Author: Insider Staff

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