(79) The Kitchen Front, Jennifer Ryan [Bk 1 of 10 for May]

I chose this now because I drew the letter “K” for this month. I’m not sure I’d have picked this up on my own, but it was a gift from C –Thanksgiving, I think– and so on my shelf. I like historical fiction, but I get overwhelmed. There is just so much of it. So most of the historical fiction I read either C gives to me, or someone else recommends.

Four women in very different situations compete to become the next radio announcer for The Kitchen Front, a WW2 BBC show that instructs cooks how to manage with wartime rations. 3rd person narration, following each of the four women in turn through different chapters. (Fairly straightfoward narration, we’re not getting multiple perspectives of the same event or anything.) There are three major components to the competition: appetizers, main course, and dessert; the arc of the book generally follows this structure– in appetizers, we meet the women; main course is where the meat of the story comes in, most of the conflict is resolved here; and dessert, the hard stuff is over and just enjoying. It took a while for me to get interested in this, but finished the second half in a night, so once I knew the characters I was sufficiently interested to keep going. (Setting this as a goal for the month didn’t hurt, either.)

I won’t read this again– donating it to the library, but I’d watch it if made into a mini-series. Which it should be– shades of Great British Bake Off and Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I can imagine a very conservative, ain’t hard work grand and we shall overcome version by Julian Fellowes.

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