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.
Me: This is just the most adorable book! At first I thought about how writing how it reminded me of the Calendar Girls but without the nudity. Exceot then we got a bit of nudity 🙂
The story is told through a series of journals and letters as encouraged by the Home Office during the War. It’s based on real life stories captured at the time along with family tales from the War. And the research and attention to detail shows with such richly detailed characters. Every woman (and the few men) have individual personalities and their own story to tell.
We have love affairs of both young and old, bratty children growing into heroic young women, female criminals, War refugees and much more all coming together to form the ladies choir – the strand that expertly weaves all the tales together.
The middle section of the book is devastating and heartbreaking and shows how both how quickly we can lose those we love and the damage War can do to us. It also shows how excellent the writing is as only 50% in and I cried over these deaths.
The choice of music the choir sing is inspired and you can imagine it so well. I could almost see Gary Barlow salivating at the idea of writing the theatre show for the book (please don’t let Gary Barlow write the theatre show. I need Lloyd Webber at least!) I really need to see these stories performed.
It’s ultimately uplifting. There’s some happy endings and some just endings. Bearing in mind WW2 lasted another 5 years, more property was bombed and more people died the endings are the best that these women could hope for at the time. Ultimately it tells us that we should grab each moment of happiness
I absolutely adored this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone.