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Adventurous,
Interesting,
Dramatic

5 reviews

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir: A Novel
by Jennifer Ryan

Published: 2017-02-14
Hardcover : 384 pages
24 members reading this now
47 clubs reading this now
7 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 5 of 5 members
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“A delightful debut.”—People 

For readers of Lilac Girls and The Nightingale, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir unfolds the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of a village choir during World War II.

As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II ...
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Introduction

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“A delightful debut.”—People 

For readers of Lilac Girls and The Nightingale, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir unfolds the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of a village choir during World War II.

As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to close the choir and instead “carry on singing,” resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. We come to know the home-front struggles of five unforgettable choir members: a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past.
 
An enchanting ensemble story that shuttles from village intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death, Jennifer Ryan’s debut novel thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women on the home front in a village of indomitable spirit.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

1. What is the main theme of the book? Which of the characters is most changed through the course of the book?

2. Which character do you like most? Why? Which character do you like most? Why?

3. Which character do you most relate to? Why?

4. What was the funniest moment of the book? Why do you think it was funny?

5. Do you think that Mrs. Tilling made the right choice to help Carrington, even though it would have been illegal for her not to have handed him over to the police? A great deal has happened since the Second World War in this regard. What does that say about the society and culture in which we live?

6. In what way does Venetia alter through the course of the book? What are the biggest moments of change for her?

7. Why doesn’t Mrs. Tilling hand Miss Paltry over to the police? Why is she being nice to her?

8. What does it say about the way her character has changed over the course of the book? Would you have handed her in?

9. Are there any recurrent symbols throughout the book? Why do you think they were chosen?

10. Are there any allusions to other books hidden throughout? What are they, and why are they relevant?

11. Did you feel for Venetia’s dilemma after Slater left? In what ways have times would her choice have been easier today? Why do you think that is?

12. Tragically, we already know what will probably happen to Silvie’s parents, even though none of the characters do at this point. How does that affect you when reading the book?

13. What impact did the war have on women, work, and society? How do you think women’s equality has progressed since the Second World War?

14. And now, a show of hands: did you shed a few tears while reading Chilbury? Be honest now, there are some sad and very moving parts. Which did you find most heartrending, and why?

Suggested by Members

How would the story have changed if the setting was the United States in 1940?
What minor character was your favorite?
How many lives were actually touched by the switch in babies?
by hollidaypark (see profile) 11/02/17

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by Thalls (see profile) 12/11/18

 
  "The Chilbury ladies’ choir "by niferwolfe (see profile) 04/29/18

I couldn’t put this book down. Absolutely wonderful!

 
by Patsye (see profile) 12/17/17

 
  "A Different Format for a Change"by hollidaypark (see profile) 11/02/17

If you like the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, you'll like this one. It uses the same format of letters and diary entries. The timeline is straight-forward, no switching from one century... (read more)

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