HAPPY FRIDAY!! Today I’m delighted to be brining you a review on the blog tour for A Ration Book Childhood by Jean Fullerton…..a wonderful, charming war time story.
In the darkest days of the Blitz, family is more important than ever.
With her family struggling amidst the nightly bombing raids in London’s East End, Ida Brogan is doing her very best to keep their spirits up. The Blitz has hit the Brogans hard, and rationing is more challenging than ever, but they are doing all they can to help the war effort.
When Ida’s oldest friend Ellen returns to town, sick and in dire need of help, it is to Ida that she turns. But Ellen carries a secret, one that threatens not only Ida’s marriage, but the entire foundation of the Brogan family. Can Ida let go of the past and see a way to forgive her friend? And can she overcome her sadness to find a place in her heart for a little boy, one who will need a mother more than ever in these dark times?
The Brogan family live in East End London in the height of the blitz; both Ida and Jeremiah do their bit to help – Ida with the WVS and Jeremiah with the Home Guard, but they still have a large family to manage, care for and feed. Jeremiah is working hard and expanding his business to bring money in to the home. Queenie (Jeremiah’s mother who lives with them) is running illegal bets. And Ida cleans in the morning and then cares for her family, before settling for the night in the shelter with her youngest son and grandchild. All appears as well as can be, until Ida bumps in to an old friend. Ellen has returned to London with her child, and has been carrying a secret for the past ten years that could destroy Ida’s life in a heartbeat……But will Ida be able forgive and move on? And how will it all end?
This is a fantastic war time story. I felt fully immersed in war time East End London! The author does a fantastic job of describing what’s going on, so much so that I felt like I was there with the characters, going through the story with them, hearing the sirens, bedding down in the shelters etc.
I’ve not read any of the previous Ration Book stories (there is a series) but I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything – although now I’d love to read them all. The characters are brilliant – Ida and Jeremiah’s marriage at the beginning just seems so happy despite the troubles the war brings but then it’s rocked and you just will them to recover! Jeremiah is a great bloke, although he has made a huge mistake, the way he looks after his family is heartwarming. Queenie is an absolute star – she had me laughing out loud! And Ida – what an amazing woman! (and I’m sure many of the war time women were like her).
The story is well written and well researched. As you all know, I love a bit of history and the world wars are areas I’m really interested in. When I was in primary school we studied WW2 and rationing – and this bought it all back. It really makes you think about what people went through – and it’s such recent history that there are still people alive who experienced this tough way of life. But they got through – even with rations tight, disruption by air raids and blackouts and their homes being destroyed. It definitely made me think about how we worry about things these days that really aren’t that important….all we need is a bit of perspective!
Overall, this was a brilliant, well written, enjoyable and charming story that will take you back, and immerse you in war time London. Definitely recommended by me and I look forward to reading more from this author.
about the author
Jean Fullerton is the author of twelve novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer. She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.
tour hosted by
Rachel’s Random Resources
Thanks so much to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour, and to Jean and the publisher for sending me a paperback copy of the book in return for an honest review.
I hope you all have a wonderful Friday – the weekend is in sight!