Are you ready for another dose of historical fiction? Great! That’s what’s on the cards today.
A Ration Book Wedding by Jean Fullerton
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?
I love books like this set during WWII. I’m sure they romanticise the period but I can’t help finding them so dreamy. So, while I went into A Ration Book Wedding ready for a love story, I got so much more.
It’s always great to read a book that zones in on the female efforts during the war. Francesca starts the book working in a factory, like so many others, but proceeds to get a job as an Italian translator for the BBC. The small detail of Francesca getting these job opened a whole new window into the war for me. In the films, we always see families sitting around the radio waiting for news, so it was interesting to get insight into what was going on in the background.
There are many other female characters in A Ration Book Wedding, but it was Stella Brogan who stood out to me the most. Stella is positioned like a Cruella de Ville type baddie. And rightly so. She does some pretty ghastly things within the pages of this book. One of the worst things she does, according to the characters in the book, at least, is that she works as a stripper by night, instead of in a factory like she has told Charlie. I don’t believe her lying to Charlie was right but she does get overly judge for this. Fitting of the time, of course, but I found it interesting how Francesca was celebrated for being an independent women fit to make her own choices, while Stella wasn’t. I’d like to comment on how times have changed, but I don’t think this is the case.
I was shocked to learn that this was the fourth book in a series. While it would have been nice to read the others beforehand, I really didn’t feel like I was missing any information. It was a well-researched, wonderfully written, happiness inducing book.
Grab your copy of A Ration Book Wedding here.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.