It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
- Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.
- The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring a recent read, The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan. The excerpts shared are from a hardcover edition borrowed from the library.
Beginning: Mrs. Audrey Landon
Willow Lodge, Fenley Village, England
A glorious spring morning poured its golden splendor through the tall kitchen window as a whirlwind of boys raced in, shooting at each other in a ramshackle reconstruction of Dunkirk.
Page 56: She shook herself, murmuring, "No, I have to come up with something so good that it can't possibly lose."
It had to stand out.
It had to be brave.
It had to be sophisticated, with bold flavors, unlike anything the other contestants would produce.
"Coquilles St. Jacques," she murmured under her breath, as if it were an incantation or a magical spell.
My thoughts: Times are extremely difficult in World War II-era England. With men serving on the battlefield, women on the home front are determined to care for their families under challenging conditions. When the BBC announces a contest to select a female co-host for its popular radio program The Kitchen Front, four women compete for the coveted role by preparing three meal courses, creating appetizing recipes despite food shortages and rationing.These four women--Audrey, Gwendoline, Nell, and Zelda--begin the competition as rivals, but gradually become friends. Each cook has her share of personal heartaches and uncertainties, yet over time they support each other in unexpected ways. Ultimately, they become a band of sisters who celebrate each small triumph as they face the prospect of an unknown future with hope and optimism.
The Kitchen Front is a well-researched work of historical fiction with characters that touch the heart. It is tale of human resilience despite hardship and loss.
Two years into WW2, Britain is feeling her losses; the Nazis have won battles, the Blitz has destroyed cities, and U-boats have cut off the supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio program called The Kitchen Front is putting on a cooking contest--and the grand prize is a job as the program's first-ever female co-host. For four very different women, winning the contest presents a crucial chance to change their lives.
For a young widow, it's a chance to pay off her husband's debts and keep a roof over her children's heads. For a kitchen maid, it's a chance to leave servitude and find freedom. For the lady of the manor, it's a chance to escape her wealthy husband's increasingly hostile behavior. And for a trained chef, it's a chance to challenge the men at the top of her profession.
These four women are giving the competition their all--even if that sometimes means bending the rules. But with so much at stake, will the contest that aims to bring the community together serve only to break it apart?
This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com. It cannot be republished without attribution.