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A Ration Book Victory by Jean Fullerton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 358
Publisher - Corvus books
Source - Review copy
Blurb from the back cover
In the final days of war, only love will pull her through...
Queenie Brogan wasn't always an East End matriarch. Many years ago, before she married Fergus, she was Philomena Dooley, a daughter of Irish Travellers, planning to wed her childhood sweetheart, Patrick Mahone. But when tragedy struck and Patrick's narrow-minded sister, Nora, intervened, the lovers were torn apart.
Fate can be cruel, and when Queenie arrives in Londond she finds that Patrick Mahon is her parish priest, and that the love she had tried to suppress flares again in her heart.
But now in the final months of WW2, Queenie discovers Father Mahon is dying and must face losing him forever. Can she finally tell him the secret she has kept for fifty years or will Nora one again come between them?
And if Queenie does decide to finally tell Patrick, could the truth destroy the Brogan family?
There is something wonderful about a book that transports you from your own time/place/worries and into the live(s) of others. We open back in 1877 when Queenie (Philomena then) first meet, Ireland, he from a well standing family, her a traveler so classes apart but the two are drawn to each other. We flip to present day where World War 2 is ongoing and Queenie is a gran, widow, Patrick is the local priest and many years and events have passed. War is coming to an end and Queenie is about to have some more heartache.
I have read one of Fullerton's books before but not from this series, this is my first and I think you can absolutely pick this one up as a standalone. That being said I liked it so much I have ordered book one in the series and plan to read the series and catch up.
A ration book victory is more than just a family saga type book, it has duo timelines/location. Queenie is the main character but we have so many others playing their part, Nora, ugh, Patrick's horror sister - I actually can't bring myself to feel sorry for her, despite being an older lady her behaviour and circumstances ugh she and even when younger a busy body! The book takes us through friendship, family, love, loss, relationships, snobbery, classism but also things that give realism to the time period. Rationing, the importance of having your own livestock and how important that can be in terms of food and giving to people in your community.
Queenie is a livewire, as a youngster and as an older adult, she is sharp as a pin, full of heart but also not lying down to anyone, she takes no nonsense! I am so looking forward to reading the earlier books and getting wrapped up in that time period. Some of the things the author captures give authenticity to the time period but also helps the reader imagine living during that time, the horror, the fear, the community spirit, 4.5/5 for me this time!
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