The kitchen front : a novel

by Ryan, Jennifer, 1973-

Format: Print Book 2021
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Summary
From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir comes an unforgettable novel of a BBC-sponsored wartime cooking competition and the four women who enter for a chance to better their lives.

"A charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes."--NPR

Two years into World War II, 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 holding 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 competition would present 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 a 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 only serve to break it apart?
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "WWII wreaked havoc on Great Britain in many ways, including disrupting the food-supply chain. Rationing was a difficult aspect of everyday life for the women left at home. In order to boost spirits and provide creative meal inspirations, the BBC produced The Kitchen Front, an informative radio cooking program. Ryan's (The Spies of Shilling Lane, 2019) heartwarming novel brings four very different women together as they compete for a co-host spot on the popular show: a widow struggling to raise three sons; her aristocratic sister, trapped in an acrimonious marriage; a young kitchen maid with dreams of a better life; and a single, pregnant chef desperate to prove herself in a male-dominated field. Ryan exquisitely captures the realities of wartime domesticity, including period-accurate recipes. She delivers an inspiring tale about the unbreakable bonds of family, the importance of friendship, and the resilience of the female spirit. A positively uplifting read that is as soothing as a warm cup of Earl Grey on a gloomy morning. The perfect book for fans of The Great British Baking Show."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Ryan's wonderful latest takes her back to the British WWII homefront she chronicled in The Chilbury Ladies' Choir. This time through, the spotlight is on women making due under the restrictions of food rationing. Ryan structures the novel around a cooking competition in 1942, with the prize being a cohosting position on a food-themed radio program. Four contestants from a small town 15 miles south of London become unexpected friends as they compete for the prize: frazzled war widow Audrey Landon, her social-climber sister, Gwendoline; orphaned kitchen maid Nell Brown; and secretly pregnant chef Zelda Dupont. While the men of the novel tend to be one-dimensional villains or saints, the main characters grow in surprising but believable ways as they find ways to help each other after competing. A master of plotting and working in different registers, Ryan weaves in a romance for Nell and a subplot involving Gwendoline's abusive husband while keeping the cooking competition front and center, complete with tempting recipes. Readers with an appetite for homefront WWII novels will find this deeply satisfying. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (Feb.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects World War, 1939-1945 -- Great Britain -- Fiction.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- Great Britain -- Fiction.
Cooking -- Competitions -- Fiction.
Women household employees -- Fiction.
Wives -- Fiction.
Widows -- Fiction.
Cooks -- Fiction.
Great Britain -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.
War fiction.
Publisher New York :2021
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 406 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780593158807
0593158806
Other Classic View