The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan is set in a small village not too far from Dover, England. Due to WWII life has changed for many. The local Vicar has decided due to the lack of men the choir will shut down, just at a time when people need music to lift their spirits. Music can express what we feel.

Through a newly arrived music teacher, the local women, and one young teenager’s enthusiasm the choir continues and blossoms. While the choir may be small, the women find both their singing voice and their previously unknown strengths.

The story follows the lives of several choir members through a format of letters and journal entries. This village is not spared the danger of WWII. Heartache, worry, hope, love all find their way into the lives of the women.

I enjoyed this book, although I had to go back a few times initially to keep track of the many characters. Life, no matter what it brings our way, is much easier to face with the support and encouragement of friends.

4 stars

To Die but once by Jacqueline Winspear

The latest in the Maisie Dobbs series centers around a missing boy who turns up dead. The catch? Why did someone kill him or was it an accident caused by the damage his brain was suffering due to exposure of dangerous chemicals?

Maisie Dobbs is one of my favorite book characters. She is calm when I’m fidgety. Maisie thinks things through, while I dive in without a thought. She is now rich and I am not. And Maisie has found peace in her life, while I’m still working on it.

Set at the beginning of WWII, Maisie is reminded of her days in France in WWI. Her friends’ and co-worker’s sons are serving and a son disappears. Twists and turns around every corner. Dunkirk is even part of this book.

I highly recommend this book but caution it is #14 in the series and time has passed steadily in the series. The series progresses through time. Book #1 begins with the prelude to WWI and the war begins in the first book. My suggestion is read book one and go from there but enough of the past is filled in you can enjoy To Die but Once as an individual read.