Sometimes when I start a book it feels like I’m shaking hands with an old friend, or sitting by the fire sipping a glass of red wine. It’s how you know you are in the hands of an excellent storyteller, that feeling of complete ease with the unfolding scene. MAGGIE’S KITCHEN is that kind of book. It welcomes you in, and you are pleased to make its acquaintance.
The story begins in a bomb shelter, where we are introduced to Maggie, the instantly relatable and kind hearted protagonist. Maggie uses her love of food to keep her sanity and to comfort those around her as London is attacked. It is also a welcome distraction and practical way to order her thoughts in the chaos that is London at this time.
Soon after we meet Robbie, a street urchin with secrets, and Janek, a polish refugee trying to forge his own path through the War. The friendship between the unlikely trio is the blood of the book, set in the beating heart of Maggie’s Kitchen. Running her own restaurant had always been Maggie’s dream, so when she is approved by the Ministry of Food to open a British Restaurant she is thrilled. She quickly realises she has a lot to prove, and not just because she is a woman. Maggie is a gifted cook, able to produce wonderful dishes from ordinary ingredients. Her food brings hope and much needed normality to the city. But as her reputation and that of the restaurant grows, there are those waiting in the wings, trying to close her doors and her newly rehabilitated heart.
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