Goodnight from London
Book Review - Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson
Yes, another historical fiction book. Yes, another WWII novel. They are my favorite, always. Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson was a particularly good one. I "read" (listened to on Audible) this book with my husband while driving back to Bloomington, IN for my friend's going away party. My husband has never really been into reading novels, but I think I'm quickly winning him over as I continue to suggest that we listen to books instead of music during these long car rides. He enjoyed both of my recent selections and was particularly surprised at how much he enjoyed this book! My husband prefers to read nonfiction accounts of history (he's a huge history buff) but I think he's finding the fun in seeing how authors portray real events with fictional characters. At one point he stopped the book to point out how much he appreciated the way Jennifer Robson portrayed the Blitz.
The story is about Ruby Sutton, an American journalist who moves to London in 1940 to cover WWII. She is eager to get away from NYC and start fresh where no one knows where she came from or how she grew up. This is her big break, a chance to prove to those school nuns that she could make something of herself. Many of her new colleagues at the British newsmagazine are welcoming and quickly become good friends, but there are a few who resent her as a woman and especially an American woman. Ruby loses all of her positions when the hotel where she is staying is destroyed in the Blitz, forcing her to rely on the help of her new friends.
Although there was no author's note at the end of the Audible recording (PS - authors, this is one of my favorite parts! I want to hear more about what inspired the story...always include this!) I read later that part of this story was inspired by the experiences of the author's grandmother.
There is one part in the story when Ruby is going through trunks of old clothing to make new dresses for herself and a few friends. They find a bunch of pre-war dresses, just a few years prior to the start of the war.
During the war there were many restrictions to clothing, known as L85 restrictions in the United States and England had many of the same restrictions, if not more limiting. One of these restrictions limited the length and width of the skirt, which the author alluded to in the quote above. In addition, the style took on a military feel (see the 1940s dress I'm wearing above) taking inspiration from military uniforms with the use of buttons and broad shoulders.
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