‘From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir comes an unforgettable story inspired by the true events of a BBC-sponsored wartime cooking competition.’ It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan.
About the Author
Jennifer Ryan is the author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. Originally from Kent and then London, she was previously a non-fiction book editor. Follow @JenniferiRyan on Twitter
About the book
Two years into the Second World War, and German U-boats are frequently disrupting Britain’s supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio programme called The Kitchen Front launches a new cooking contest – and the grand prize is a job as the programme’s first-ever female co-host.
For young widow Audrey, winning the competition could be a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. However, her estranged sister, Gwendoline, is equally set on success even if her own kitchen maid, Nell, is competing against her. And then there is Zelda, a London-trained chef desperate to succeed in a male-dominated profession – and harbouring a secret that will change everything . . .
This story is fiction woven with facts, based loosely on programmes the BBC actually had during wartime and times of rationing. In an attempt to teach people how to create meals from less a cooking competition is started and includes four very different women who are determined to win. One of those women is the young mother and recently widowed Audrey.
Winning would mean being able to take care of her already vulnerable children, and you would think that her family would line up to be her biggest supporter, well everyone except for her sister who also has her mind set on winning. What follows is a healthy, funny and often emotional race to the finishing line.
The book is filled with the connection to food, the love of the one thing that brings all people together. My parents are ration babies and my father in particular has many stories to tell, and he is also capable of whipping up a meal out of anything at all. The most basic of ingredients with a tenfold ways of creating nourishing food.
The story is filled with the spirit of sisterhood and friendship, even though it takes a while to get there for some. The trauma of the times they live in call for extraordinary measures, and I think a lot of those have never really left certain countries. Stories are passed on, as are memories, and more importantly those ways and attempts to unify, comfort and support have been passed on also.
It’s contemporary read, despite the fact it is historical fiction. The important elements of humanity, friendship and even the more nuanced aspects of rivalry and competitions, all of these things resonate now as they did then.
Ryan writes a jolly good yarn, one readers can connect with, whilst drawing parallels and feasting on memories and nostalgia. A Home Fires vibe, mixing the staunch upper lip and iron will to survive and persevere with the devastation of loss, change and new beginnings. It’s a read I think many will enjoy.