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Throwback Thursday meme is hosted by Renee@It’s Book Talk and is a way to share some of your old favorites as well as sharing books that you’re FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on your TBR list while you continue to pile more titles on top of them ! These older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board.   If you’d just link back to her @ It’s Book Talk she’d so appreciate it.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

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My Review: This story is set at the beginning of WWII on the coast of England in the small fictional town of Chilbury. Most of the men have left for the war effort and the ladies of Chilbury are saddened that the Vicar has disbanded the choir. He feels there are not enough male singers. Prim, a music professor newly moved to Chilbury thinks that the women should continue to sing in the choir and convinces the vicar. Once the women realize that there is nothing wrong with an all female choir, they begin to meet and bond. It doesn’t take long before they realize that it’s time for them to support each other and keep spirits up. They’re not always in agreement, of course, and personalities occasionally clash, as always happens with a mixed group of people. This is how the relationships grow in this book, but it is so much more than just the choir. The story is told through a series of letters and journal entries written by Venitia and her sister Kitty, Sylvie (a Jewish evacuee), Mrs. Tilling (a nurse) and Edwina Paltry (a midwife).

It was very interesting to see how the women in these small towns and villages in England stepped up to keep the homefires burning. There were also a number of issues that the author touched on: politics, war, child abuse, abortion, single mothers, pre-marital sex, black markets, spies, parental control over daughters, and women’s rights. The relationships that developed between the women left behind as well as their strength of character was the backbone of this book. When I started reading it, I was not sure about the story and almost stopped reading it, but once I got into it I was glad I had persevered. This is not about the war or the holocaust, it is about surviving at home, during the war, in an area that was constantly at risk. A very good read. If you enjoy historical fiction, pick this one up and give it a whirl.

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