The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

5 stars Historical Fiction

What a fun novel to listen to.  It took a few chapters for things to get situated but then, I really enjoyed the history, the relationships and the idea behind this book.  I liked that the female relationships inside the book took more precedence than the male/female relationships, which was what I was hoping would happen. I didn’t want a romance to spoil this drama.  This was a great package:  a historical fiction story, centered around a cooking competition consisting of diverse characters with an uplifting ending.

It’s the popular BBC broadcasting of the British Show, The Kitchen Front with Ambrose as the show’s host.  The show has decided that they need a female co-host and has launched a cooking competition to find her.  Located in Finley Village, England, are four women who are supposedly using their war rations to make the winning entries and to prove to Ambrose that they should be his co-host.  Here are four women who desperately need this position. These four women come from such different situations and circumstances in their lives.  These four women give this competition everything that they have. And who do I think should win it?   Nell? The kitchen maid at Finley Hall who started the competition so timid that she can hardly talk but she can cook.  Lady Gwendoline?  She married into money but does money buy happiness?  Audrey?  Lady Gwendoline sister, a war widow with 3 children who is trying to keep her head above water.  Zelda? A previous London chef who is now pregnant (and unmarried).

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I enjoyed listening to these ladies’ stories.  How their lives were before the war and how their lives have changed since the war began.  It was fascinating how they created their recipes using their war rations and how some of them used nature to help them spread their rations even further.  Their resourcefulness really shined.  What started out as a competition for these ladies, as they lifted up their dome lids and everyone marveled at their creation hidden underneath, ends in another type of celebration as the winner is selected.   I highly recommend this novel.