I’m pleased to share my review for this historical fiction novel by Jean Fullerton published in May 2020 in the UK by Corvus Books. I enjoyed book three of the series, A Ration Book Childhood, earlier this year (see my review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/02/19/a-ration-book-childhood-by-jean-fullerton/) and I was keen to continue reading about the Brogan family.
It’s February 1942 and the Americans 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?
Having read and enjoyed A Ration Book Childhood back in February 2020, it was great to catch up with the Brogan family as they prepared for the wedding of Jo and Tommy. I was able to read book three without having read the previous books, and I’m sure the same could be said about book four if you haven’t read the previous books. However I do recommend reading the earlier books if you can.
Although the book has wedding in the title, a great deal of the story looks at how Charlie’s marriage is falling apart and how the Brogan family are coping with the repeated bombings in London and the lack of food. I love the small details in the story used to bring wartime London to life – the food, the clothes, the sounds during the bombing etc.
I’m assuming that this is the last in the series, but personally I would love to know more about the Brogan family. If you enjoy historical fiction set during World War 2, then I recommend treating yourself to a copy – hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.
I was born into a large, East End family and grew up in the overcrowded streets clustered around the Tower of London. I still live in East London, just five miles from where I was born. I feel that it is that my background that gives my historical East London stories their distinctive authenticity.
I first fell in love with history at school when I read Anya Seton’s book Katherine. Since then I have read everything I can about English history but I am particularly fascinated by the 18th and 19th century and my books are set in this period. I just love my native city and the East End in particular which is why I write stories to bring that vibrant area of London alive.
I am also passionate about historical accuracy and I enjoy researching the details almost as much as weaving the story. If one of my characters walks down a street you can be assured that that street actually existed. Take a look at Jean’s East End and see the actual location where my characters played out their stories.