Commercial fiction, particularly women’s commercial fiction, has never really had a fair deal from reviewers and critics. But the quality of commercial romance and historical fiction seems to be getting higher all the time. This is an extremely engaging novel for a broad readership about a gifted cook in wartime London who becomes the manager and chef at a community kitchen or “British Restaurant”, designed to feed and nourish the workers and other citizens during London’s darkest days. The love story is almost incidental. This is Caroline Beecham’s first novel, but it is so well structured and fictionalises its fascinating historical sources so successfully that it reads like the work of a veteran storyteller. Her career as a screenwriter and producer is probably responsible for that, as for the cinematic quality of this entertaining book.
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