Jennifer Ryan - The Chilbury Ladies' Choir
Ryan grew up in Kent, England, and her debut novel is a spirited evocation of village life during the Second World War. With most of Chilbury’s men on the battle front, the vicar shuts down the church choir until the missing baritones and tenors can return. In a defiant esprit de corps, the women form the eponymous choral group, which serves each of them as more than just an occasion to sing. Told through letters and journals, the narrative is both a collective portrait of a close-knit community and a series of compelling stories as the characters by turns worry about absent loved ones, embark on new romances, dabble in politics, and aid Jewish refugees.