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Adorable English village? Check.
Multiple points of view with interconnected stories and relationships? Check.
WWII Blitz stuff? Check.
Dry British humor sprinkled amongst the drama? Check.
Yes, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan checks a lot of boxes for me. I basically inhaled the audiobook. I’m so glad I picked the audiobook as it was an especially impressive example of the medium: several voice actors were involved in the project and a number of sing-songy bits were included as well. The voice actress for Edwina Paltry made me laugh. I can’t find a list of the voice cast but she was especially perfect, as was the voice actress for the 13-year-old Kitty.
With a tone very similar to Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce, with the drama of the Blitz hanging in the air above with interpersonal conflicts and friendships down on the ground, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is made up of letters and journal entries from several characters, all of whom I fell in love with quickly. They all live in the fictional English village of Chilbury (based on Chilham in Kent) and decide to start a ladies’ choir since almost all of the men of the village have gone to war.
In Chilbury, readers will find some family rivalries, some romance, a few crimes, several traditions challenged, and lots of women realizing their own power when they need to be the ones to step up.
This book is so, so delightful and fun. I’m definitely picking up a physical copy for my collection.
RATING: 5/5 stars