Jaffareadstoo is thrilled to be part of this Blog Tour
7 May 2020
My thanks to the publishers and Rachel's Random Resources for my ecopy of this book
and the invitation to the blog tour
It's February 1942 and the American's have finally joined Britain and its allies. Meanwhile, twenty-three-year-old Francesca Fabrino, like thousands of other women, is doing her bit for the war effort in a factory in East London. But her thoughts are constantly occupied by her unrequited love for Charlie Brogan, who has recently married a woman of questionable reputation, before being shipped out to North Africa with the Eighth Army.
When Francesca starts a new job as an Italian translator for the BBC Overseas Department, she meets handsome Count Leonardo D'Angelo. Just as Francesca has begun to put her hopeless love for Charlie to one side and embrace the affections of this charming and impressive man, Charlie returns from the front, his marriage in ruins and his heart burning for Francesca at last. Could she, a good Catholic girl, countenance an illicit affair with the man she has always longed for? Or should she choose a different, less dangerous path?
What did I think about it..
It's always such a treat to return to the lively Brogan family to see what they have been getting up to in the East End of London during WW2. As the story opens we are now in 1942, and the Brogan family are still doing their best to keep safe, disappearing into the bomb shelters during the frequent air raids, and making ends meet in the best way they can. Charlie Brogan, fighting in North Africa, is constantly in their thoughts especially when the family receive word that he is being shipped home. This news is not met with any great enthusiasm by Charlie's flighty wife whose questionable reputation leaves a lot to be desired.
Whilst the story centers around the Brogans, A Ration Book Wedding also gives us Francesca Fabrino's story, which I found particularly fascinating especially when she seeks employment at the BBC. Those who have read the previous books in the series will appreciate the story focusing on this lovely character, who has, up to now, been rather overshadowed by the more rambunctious Brogans.
As always the author make this corner of London's East End entirely her own. The Brogans with their lively characters come alive in the stories she tells of their lives and loves during this particularly difficult time, when bombs were dropping on London, and lives and families were destroyed. This stoical endurance is brought sharply into focus by Queenie Brogan, the indomitable matriarch, who doesn't suffer fools and who dispenses her own brand of rough justice.
There's a real sense of history and an authentic feel to the hardships the Brogan's endured but it's also about the fun times, of the challenges they faced and how they coped with the difficulties, especially preparing for a family wedding when rationing made sure everything was in short supply.
A Ration Book Wedding continues this saga in a story which is both poignant and exciting. There are some lovely sections which made me smile, and some truly difficult moments which had me scared for the outcome, but throughout it all the author's passion for story telling shines through. I am sure we have much more still to challenge the Brogans as they go through their eventful lives.
Jean Fullerton is the author of thirteen novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer. She won the Harry Bowling prize in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is halfway through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.
Twitter @JeanFullerton_ #ARationBookWedding