Title: Maggie’s Kitchen
Author: Caroline Beecham
Rating: 5/5 casseroles
Release date: 27th July 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
When the British Ministry of Food urgently calls for the opening of restaurants to feed tired and hungry Londoners during WWII, Maggie Johnson seems close to realising a long-held dream.
Navigating a constant tangle of government red-tape, Maggie’s Kitchen finally opens its doors to the public and Maggie finds that she has a most unexpected problem. Her restaurant has become so popular that she simply can’t find enough food to keep up with the demand for meals.
With the help of twelve-year-old Robbie, a street urchin, and Janek, a Polish refugee dreaming of returning to his native land, she evades threats of closure from the Ministry. But breaking the rules is not the only thing she has to worry about. . . as Maggie fights to keep her beloved Kitchen open, she discovers that some secrets have the power to change everything.
This book was such a delight! Not too heavy on the Historical Fiction and there’s a hint of Romance/Chick lit in it too. The plot line might not be very appealing at first glance but I promise you it’s amazing. It’s not completely flawless by any means, but it’s a very easy and light read that’ll have you flip those pages like crazy.
One thing I particularly liked about this book is Maggie’s passion for cooking and opening her own restaurant. It reminded me so much of Tiana (from Princess and The Frog, a movie I completely adore) and her determination to open up her own restaurant and cook for people and make her family proud. Maggie was a lot like her in many ways – fierce, loyal, and kindhearted. The ideal protagonist, if I do say so myself.
Then we have the articulate writing that weaves the story together so brilliantly. The author basically had me salivating over the delicacies that were presented in the book. Couldn’t help but sneak myself a slice of custard pie and a warm cup of tea that goes perfectly with this novel.
I also wanted to point out the unlikely friendship that was formed between Maggie and Robbie. To think of it, she was more of a mother to him; cooking his favorite meals, allowing him to stay over for the night and rest. It was interesting that their bond was much stronger than anyone else’s, and you understand why as you go through the book. Lots of friendship blossom as the book progresses. A bit of drama involved, but that’s as far as the characters go to being ‘irrational’.
It’s amazing how the author is able to centre the story around the world war and the unlikely events that are occurring during that time. It brings about a new perspective to fans of Historical Fiction like myself. There’s just so much more to the World War than air raids and tragedies. Maggie’s Kitchen emphasizes on the fact that sacrifices are important, and that there is always hope even when society is collapsing.
I would love to read more of Beecham’s works. Is it too much to ask for a sequel (if there isn’t one already)? I’d love to know what happened. Plus, the book includes recipes for all he meals mentioned in the story. How neat is that?!
Such an amazing book. I highly recommend it to you kitchen-crazed bookworms, or just anyone in general.
Thank you Allen & Unwin for sending a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!