The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

  • by Jennifer Ryan
  • Narrated by Gabrielle Glaister, Imogen Wilde, Laura Kirman, Adjoa Andoh, Tom Clegg, Mike Grady
  • 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Featuring specially-recorded choral music!
The village of Chilbury in Kent is about to ring in some changes.
This is a delightful novel of wartime gumption and village spirit that will make your heart sing out.
Kent, 1940. The women of Chilbury village have taken umbrage at the Vicar's closure of the choir now that its male singers are at war. But when spirited music professor Primrose Trent arrives, it prompts the creation of an all-female singing group. Resurrecting themselves as The Chilbury Ladies' Choir, the women use their song and unity to embolden the community as the war tears through their lives.
Dependable Mrs Tilling sees the choir as a chance to finally put herself first and a welcome distraction from thoughts of her son fighting on the front line. For Kitty Winthrop, the precocious youngest daughter of Chilbury Manor, singing is the only way to outshine her glamorous sister Venetia, who isn't letting the war ruin her plan to make every bachelor in the county fall in love with her. Meanwhile, when midwife Edwina Paltry is presented with a dastardly job which she's convinced will make her rich, she will have to misuse more than the trust of the choir's women to carry out her scheme - and nothing is going to stop her.
Filled with intrigue, humour and touching warmth, and set against the devastating backdrop of the Second World War, this is a lively and big-hearted novel told through the voices of four very different but equally vibrant characters who will win you over as much with their mischief as with their charm.
Choral music sung by Mums N' Roses, with musical direction by Craig Hudson

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What the Critics Say

"I am completely and utterly in love with this book. What a joy! It may be in my all-time top five - I just adore every single thing about it." (Jill Mansell)
"I adored it, it made me want to sing with joy." (Alex Brown, author of The Secret of Orchard Cottage)
"Delightful...it manages to be sad and funny, exciting and heart-warming, all at the same time. Quite an achievement." (Barbara Erskine, author of Sleeper's Castle.)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Delightful

This is a very simple story about a small community thrown upside down by the Second World War. It's a bit parochial, but a really good listen.

The characters are all well defined and recognisable with their personalities coming through loud and clear.

I guess it's a bit silly in places, but that didn't put me off, just made me smile.

The narrators are excellent, capturing the personalities of the characters just right.

But the really lovely part of the book is the choral music. Beautifully sung, these small excerpts of music gradually overtake the dialogue and I found it quite moving.

This is a lightweight book, no real cliff hanging, hold your breath moments- just a delightful story about a small community gripped by war.

Worth a listen in my view.
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- Liz

Mixed feelings

Any additional comments?

Maybe it's because I listened to this straight after Big Little Lies but I found myself equally enjoying this book and being irritated by it. The passages about the effect of the war on the women of the village are moving and thought provoking, so the somewhat ridiculous storylines that run alongside them don't sit comfortably. I also don't like all of the performances, they are over the top in some cases, and I am sure there are phrases that are used which wouldn't have been around in those days. And I hoped for more singing based on the comments I read before buying it. However I have finished it so that must be some kind of positive recommendation!

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- SueF62

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-02-2017
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited