This is the eighth book in the Ration Book series by Jean Fullerton and the first of hers I have read. At first, I found it quite confusing to work out who was who, as there are a lot of characters, but this probably would have been easier if I’d started with book one! I would have liked a list of characters at the start of the book, so I could refer to it when I got a bit lost.
The book has a dual timeline. It starts in Ireland in 1877, where the young Philomena meets Patrick Mahon. The book follows them growing up and see what happens to their friendship over the years.
In the other sections of the novel, it’s 1945 in London and coming towards the end of World War II. Philomena Brogan, known as Queenie, lives with her son Jeremiah, daughter-in-law Ida, grandsons Billy (15) and Michael (14) and granddaughter Victoria (3). Queenie has seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. By this time, Patrick is Father Mahon and still part of her life.
I loved the whole family feel to the book and there are so many great characters, each with their own issues to solve. I liked the relationships between the Brogan sisters and I enjoyed the 1940s setting, especially celebrating VE Day and the end of World War II. I was also interested by Tommy and Jo’s infertility story.
Queenie is a brilliant character, I loved her strength and feistiness. She’s a real matriarch and such a strong woman. I loved reading her story and how her love for Patrick had endured throughout the decades. (And I couldn’t stand Patrick’s sister Nora!)
An enjoyable read.
8.5 out of 10
A Ration Book Victory
Jean Fullerton, the RNA-shortlisted queen of the East End, returns with the final nostalgic and heart-warming story of the Brogan family.
In the final days of war, only love will pull her through . . .
Queenie Brogan wasn’t always an East End matriarch. Many years ago, before she married Fergus, she was Philomena Dooley, a daughter of Irish Travellers, planning to wed her childhood sweetheart, Patrick Mahone. But when tragedy struck and Patrick’s narrow-minded sister, Nora, intervened, the lovers were torn apart.
Fate can be cruel, and when Queenie arrives in London she finds that Patrick Mahon is her parish priest, and that the love she had tried to suppress flares again in her heart.
But now in the final months of WW2, Queenie discovers Father Mahon is dying and must face losing him forever. Can she finally tell him the secret she has kept for over fifty years or will Nora once again come between them?
And if Queenie does decide to finally tell Patrick, could the truth destroy the Brogan family?
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3KIKxA5
Born and bred in East London Jean is a District Nurse by trade and has worked as a NHS manager and as a senior lecture in Health and Nursing Studies. She left her day job to become a full-time writer in 2015 and has never looked back.
In 2006 she won the Harry Bowling Prize and now has seventeen sagas published over three series all of which are set in East London.
She is an experienced public speaker with hundreds of WI and women’s club talks under her belt, plus for the past fifteen years she has sailed all over the world as an enrichment speaker and writing workshop leader on cruise ships.
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