Monday, February 06, 2017

#OneBookWinter - The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

What is the one book you would recommend reading this Winter?

Today I'm sharing with you my thoughts on The Chilbury Ladies' Choir A Novel by Jennifer Ryan, my first 5 star read of 2017, and my recommendation for the SheReads #OneBookWinter book rec across social media day today!

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction
Source: NetGalley / Crown Publishing (e-edition ARC)
Release Date: Next Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Synopsis from NetGalley:
""Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!"

As England enters World War II's dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to shutter the church's choir in the absence of men and instead "carry on singing." Resurrecting themselves as "The Chilbury Ladies' Choir," the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.

Told through letters and journals, THE CHILBURY LADIES' CHOIR moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit-- a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn't understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past-- we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir's collective voice reverberates in her individual life. In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the homefront, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict."

My Thoughts:

In a word: Exceptional!

So many layers to this novel. Ms. Ryan's writing is beautiful, and expertly weaves together all of the stories of the women left behind in the (fictional) village of Chilbury during WWII, and shows us not only what they had to do to survive, but also how the choir and its' music unites them, regardless of their ages and backgrounds, and how that unity becomes another tool for their survival during the war.

Side story/background: Back during SIBA/READ Savannah in September, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and chatting at length with Ms. Ryan at the Hilton DeSoto lounge about this novel, and writing & reading in general! (The cover is gorgeous in person by the way and I cannot wait until it comes out next week and I'm able to get my hands on a print copy). Since then I had been looking forward to reading this novel (it's one of my preferred genres - WWII hist fic) so I was thrilled when my NetGalley request to read it was approved via Crown Publishing and NetGalley back on January 4th. I actually finished reading on January 27th but wanted to hold my thoughts until closer to the actual release date.

Highly recommended! For those who love historical fiction and those who love a great story.

Links for Reference:
Penguin RandomHouse book page (to pre-order)
Author Twitter
Watch Author Talk About Writing on YouTube
Crown Publishing on Twitter

I want to thank NetGalley and Crown Publishing for providing me with a free copy of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir A Novel as a member of NetGalley for a fair and honest review. (Opinions are my own, and I am not required by the publisher to write a positive review, nor have I received compensation for this review).

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