‘Goodnight from London’ by Jennifer Robson

gfl jrSTORY: Ruby Sutton gets her big break: the chance to report on the European war as a staff writer for Picture Weekly newsmagazine in London. She jumps at the chance, for it’s an opportunity not only to prove herself, but also to start fresh in a city and country that know nothing of her humble origins. But life in besieged Britain tests Ruby in ways she never imagined.

Although most of Ruby’s new colleagues welcome her, a few resent her presence, not only as an American but also as a woman. She is just beginning to find her feet, to feel at home in a country that is so familiar yet so foreign, when the bombs begin to fall.

As the nightly horror of the Blitz stretches unbroken into weeks and months, Ruby must set aside her determination to remain an objective observer. When she loses everything but her life, and must depend upon the kindness of strangers, she learns for the first time the depth and measure of true friendship—and what it is to love a man who is burdened by secrets that aren’t his to share.

REVIEW: Here I go again! I’m on a role with this genre  😉 WWII stories and movies are my latest obsession. But not all are well researched, plotted and written as I’m finding out. Not this story though! I liked this one a lot and there was a lot to like.

The heroine Ruby caught my interest from the first page,  and the plot of an American woman reporter going to London as WWII approaches was intriguing, as much as our heroine’s past. As our heroine get’s to know her new surroundings, we are right beside her as author’s wonderful prose and research shines through and sucks us in as Ruby tries to survive and at times thrive as her new life takes root.

The novel is well written and researched and the romance between Bennett and Ruby was sweet and relatable because it moved at a realistic pace, regardless of war and its horrors. I also liked a slew of supporting cast, from Kaz to Vanessa, but it’s the descriptions of the ravished city that touched me the most.

At ground level, near what once may have been a set of stairs, a group of men in steel helmets and boiler suits were pulling at the debris, shovels at the ready, their muttered instructions to one another barely audible above an undercurrent of noise that Ruby didn’t at first recognize. It was sort of low, keening cry, reminiscent of an animal in distress, and it made the hair on her nape stand on end and her breath catch at her throat.

She turned her head this way and that, trying to discern what she heard, and then she realized it was coming from the people around her, men and women alike, some of them covering their mouths with their hands to contain their horror.

The sound rose and rose, and then the crowd parted before her, and she stood and watched mutely as two men shuffled past with a stretcher. On it was a blanket-draped body, far too small to be that of an adult, and as the men stepped free of the debris the blanket shifted, only to reveal a tiny shoe, its leather wizened and twisted by fire and water …

The horror of that one shoe fell on her, a body blow that stole the breath from her lungs. She took a step back, closed her eyes, but the image would not flee, it was still there even in the darkness. She could see it, see the child’s little foot, so still and cold. How was she ever to wipe such sight from her mind?

This story is heart wrenching and heartwarming and I highly recommend it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

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