Wednesday, 24 October 2018

A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton

With Christmas approaching, the Brogan family of London's East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe's nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.

For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

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A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton is a book that can be read as a standalone one, but it's also the second book about the Brogan sisters, book 1 being about Marie. This book is Jo's story.

It's the 1940s in wartime London. Jo works as a volunteer in the ambulance service and her boyfriend Tommy works on the heavy mover crews, the men who move all the heavy rubble etc from bombed buildings to rescue the people that might still be alive under it. They were a couple until Jo had to spend time in the country when she had been evacuated with her brother to the country. A terrible misunderstanding when she returned to London saw them breaking up but Tommy is determined to win her back.

I can't even begin to put into words adequately just how much this book moved me. Reading about what people went through in the war both good and bad made me so emotional. I cried, I laughed, and I even got angry during some parts of the story. There were loveable characters like Tommy, who despite a bad reputation is doing his best to change his life for the better. There were horrid men like his brother who, well I can't give spoilers, but suffice to say you won't think much of him when you read about his antics. Of course, I couldn't read quickly enough to find out if Jo could ever forgive Tommy and if they could have their happy ever after.

Normally I don't like to read books that are sad, but this one had such a good balance of both sad and happy events that I didn't mind that I had to have the occasional cry. A very beautiful story showing how the British kept calm and carried on. I can't recommend it enough. I definitely want to go back and read Marie's story now. The author Jean Fullerton's books will now have to be added to my must read list.

Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven 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.

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