Jennifer Ryan books in order
Jennifer Ryan is a British bestselling author of Historical Fiction.
Born in Kent, and raised in the English countryside, it was her grandmother’s never-ending tales of her time in the Second World War that inspired Jennifer to write her first novel, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir (2017).
The mother of two lives in Washington, DC with her daughters.
Genres: Historical Fiction, Thriller
- The Chilbury Ladies' Choir (2017)
- The Spies of Shilling Lane (2019)
- The Kitchen Front (2021)
- The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle (2022)
Detailed book overview
As England becomes entangled in World War II, with the men taken to battle, the women of Chilbury village form an unusual bond.
Going against the decree of the Vicar to close the choir, they decide to “carry on singing,” rejuvenating themselves as the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.
Through them, we come to know of five unforgettable choir members: a frightened widow shattered when her only son goes to war; the older daughter of a local scion attracted to a strange artist; her younger sister grieving over a crush that will never be; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia with a big family secret; and a conspiring midwife determined to run away from her dark past.
Mrs. Braithwaite, the self-proclaimed queen of her English village, finds herself detested and disregarded after her self-serving husband files for divorce.
A huge family secret then makes her flee to London where her daughter Betty works.
Upon her arrival, she is shocked to be informed by Betty’s landlord, that her daughter hasn’t been seen around in a while.
Dragging the hesitant Mr. Norris, the two embark on a mission to piece together Betty’s surprisingly messy life.
An old-fashioned woman all about reputation and social class, Mrs. Braithwaite will be forced to answer the question of what truly measures the success of a person’s life.
Two years into World War II, Britain is feeling her losses: The Nazis have won battles, the Blitz has destroyed cities, and U-boats have cut off the supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio program called The Kitchen Front is holding a cooking contest—and the grand prize is a job as the program’s first-ever female co-host. For four very different women, winning the competition would present a crucial chance to change their lives.
For a young widow, it’s a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. For a kitchen maid, it’s a chance to leave servitude and find freedom. For a lady of the manor, it’s a chance to escape her wealthy husband’s increasingly hostile behavior. And for a trained chef, it’s a chance to challenge the men at the top of her profession.
These four women are giving the competition their all—even if that sometimes means bending the rules. But with so much at stake, will the contest that aims to bring the community together only serve to break it apart?
After renowned fashion designer Cressida Westcott loses both her home and her design house in the London Blitz, she has nowhere to go but the family manor house she fled decades ago. Praying that her niece and nephew will be more hospitable than her brother had been, she arrives with nothing but the clothes she stands in, at a loss as to how to rebuild her business while staying in a quaint country village.
Her niece, Violet Westcott, is thrilled that her famous aunt is coming to stay—the village has been interminably dull with all the men off fighting. But just as Cressida arrives, so does Violet’s conscription letter. It couldn’t have come at a worse time; how will she ever find a suitably aristocratic husband if she has to spend her days wearing a frumpy uniform and doing war work?
Meanwhile, the local vicar’s daughter, Grace Carlisle, is trying in vain to repair her mother’s gown, her only chance of a white wedding. When Cressida Westcott appears at the local Sewing Circle meeting, Grace asks for her help—but Cressida has much more to teach the ladies than just simple sewing skills.
Before long, Cressida’s spirit and ambition galvanizes the village group into action, and they find themselves mending wedding dresses not only for local brides, but for brides across the country. And as the women dedicate themselves to helping others celebrate love, they might even manage to find it for themselves.