Publication date 23rd February 2017
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.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
For me this was a really cosy, curtains drawn, curl up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and bickie kind a book. The story is told from letters, diary and journal entries from the residents of a small Kent village between March to September 1940. Even here there has to be casualties from the war that is raging in Europe. Well no one rallies better than the British, where a strong brew normally fixes any dilemma but in Chilbury a little more is required, like the resurrection of the recently disbanded Chilbury Choir after the men left to fight for King and Country, taking their Tenor voices with them.
Life has to go on even with the threat of invasion on the minds of everyone, but like in any crisis, a war brings out the best and worst in people. This is a story that makes you feel involved with what is going on and at times you feel just darn right helpless. There are fabulous characters that you get to feel you have known for years. The author just made me very much a part of the story. The war time era being very different from today as far as equality and human rights were concerned. You have to love a book that leaves you with that that toastie, glowy, turn your toes up satisfaction when you finish it.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hello, and thank you for being interested in my author page. I’m the author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, which is coming out February 14th, 2017. It is my very first novel. Before becoming a writer, I was a nonfiction book editor, editing books about politics and economics, travel and health, and biography and memoir. I worked in London before moving to the Washington, DC, area ten years ago with my husband and two children.
I was born in a village in Kent, England, not too far away from the fictional village of Chilbury. The novel is based on the stories of my grandmother who was twenty when the Second World War began, mostly hilarious tales about bumping into people in the blackout, singing in the air raid shelters, and the freedoms women had during the war years–the excitement and romance. She also belonged to a choir, and her choir stories dramatized the camaraderie and support they all took away; the knowledge that they weren’t in this alone. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir uses my dear grandmother’s stories as its backdrop.
If you have read The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, thank you. I very much hope that you liked it. And if you have yet to read it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I loved writing it.