I received this from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, but all opinions are my own.
The choir of Chilbury, a small town in Britain, has disbanded due to all the men enlisting, but it is reborn as a Ladies' Choir when a new female conductor comes to town. As love grows and intrigue of multiple kinds takes place, the ladies of the choir find that they have more power than they know.
This book was different than I expected--there was a lot less focus on the choir as a whole and more focus on just a few members of the choir. As a result, I could not really see how many people were meant to be in the choir and how big the town of Chilbury was meant to be. The map in the front was charming, but only listed the highlighted places in the plot. I would have appreciated more focus on the choir and town itself.
I felt the main conflict of the book--the plotline of Mrs. Paltry--to be rather unrealistic. I also thought the Brigadier General's negative reaction at the end of the book in relation to that plotline was unwarranted--it rather worked out for him in the long run. I also thought Elsie was utterly despicable.
Of the two romances, I found the one between the older couple to be more realistic--the younger romance seemed rather rushed, and by the end I was still like "you barely know each other!!!'
This book seemed overly dramatic when wartime is dramatic enough in itself. However, it did place a good emphasis on women finding their inner strength, which I appreciated. I enjoyed Mrs. Tilling's character growth quite a bit. Her portions of the book are worth the whole thing,
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir was a charming historical fiction novel, and I particularly recommend it if you like epistolary novels.