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Maggie's Kitchen

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  320 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Amid the heartbreak and danger of London in the Blitz of WWII, Maggie Johnson finds her courage in friendship and food.

They might all travel the same scarred and shattered streets on their way to work, but once they entered Maggie's Kitchen, it was somehow as if the rest of the world didn't exist.

When the British Ministry of Food urgently calls for the opening of restauran
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 1st 2016 by Allen & Unwin
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The year is 1941 in London and Maggie Johnson is trying to come to terms with the passing of her fiancé Peter. If dealing with her grief isn't enough, Maggie and everyone around her are in danger as they do their best to keep safe from the war that is going on around them.

Maggie spent her days working in factory kitchens, but working under Mr Ferguson was not pleasant and Maggie desperately wanted to start up something on her own as she'd invariably had a love for cooking and food. And then when
London, 1941 and Maggie Johnson was struggling with more than just her grief over the loss of her fiancé Peter. The constant drone of enemy aircraft, the mad dash to the bomb shelters, then the horror of what Maggie and her shelter companions would find once they were free to move around again – it was hard to remain positive in the face of such heartache.

Maggie worked at the factory kitchens under the watchful eye of Mr Ferguson – never a compassionate man, he was a stickler for his workers be
Dale Harcombe
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The year is 1941. The place is London. Maggie Johnson is still trying to come to terms with the death of her fiancé Peter, killed in action. Part of her is holding out hope that the information is wrong. Meanwhile she gets on with doing what she does best, cooking and caring for others. Her concern ends up including her cousin Rose, twelve year old Robbie, who is battling to believe his missing father is okay, and the Polish refugee Janek. When The Ministry of Food calls for the opening of Briti ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books
*This review also appears on my blog
It seems that there are many more compelling stories to draw out of World War II, which Caroline Beecham explores in her debut novel, Maggie’s Kitchen. Maggie’s Kitchen draws our awareness to the existence of government restaurants in wartime Britain, that were formed in a bid to ensure London residents were provided with hot meals, in a time of food rationing. Maggie’s Kitchen is about one woman, Maggie Johnson, as she
2.5 Stars.

The bad:
Far too much tell and not enough show. The story is very slow and takes forever to get going and when it finally does, it ends.

The good:
Interesting time period, well researched, subject is original (I haven't seen another fiction book that focuses on food shortages and rationing in Britain during World War II), includes recipes, and most of the characters are likable.

Advice to the author; let your characters tell their stories by their actions and interactions with one another.
Cups and Thoughts
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Tianne Shaw
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-read
A Heart warming read that shows how WWII brought a nation together from creative recipes to taking in those in need. Join Maggie on her quest to do this.
Monique Mulligan
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Tender, heartbreaking and intriguing, Maggie’s Kitchen serves up a slice of wartime life I haven’t before seen in a book. Feeding the masses, with tight restrictions applied by bureaucracy, called for resourcefulness, and Maggie has buckets of that. She’s a wonderful character, full of warmth and compassion, but not afraid to bend the rules where she thinks it’s best. She’s a protector and a provider, and that comes out beautifully in many ways, from the way she takes young Robbie under her wing ...more
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is easy to read and extremely well written.

It tells the story of Maggie opening her kitchen during the time of war.

When bravery can be found in the most unlikely places.

The British Ministry for Food urgently calls for the opening of restaurants to feed tired and hungry Londoners during World War 2.

You'll hear all about Robbie, a street urchin, and Janek a Polish refugee.

Maggie fights to keep her kitchen open during tough times but soon discovers that some sec
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Maggie's Kitchen is a wonderful story about Maggie Johnson her need to help and learning to survive during the war.
It is a touching tale of love, life, war, hope and courage. Maggie has a strength that is shown by her courage and her ability to keep calm and her ability to carry on no matter what has happened in life.
I found this a book I just didn't want to put down from the very start to the end I was drawn into Maggie's life and carried along on her journey. Reading this book touched on p
Glynis Marshall
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Highly recommend it
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
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Okay so, initially the combination of a wartime setting mixed with the idea of cooking began to hit the snooze button in my brain. I could tell from the get-go that this book wasn't going to be my cup of tea.

But it's a beautiful thing when a book opens up your mind to new genres and new experiences. Just like Maggie's Kitchen did for me. How amazing it is to become less closed off to certain genres and to now develop the ability to look a l
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
In Maggie’s Kitchen, Caroline Beecham presents the touching story of Maggie Johnson while highlighting in intricate detail the tumultuous and precarious times of WWII in London; from food rationing to life underground following raids, the enormous loss of life to the uncertainty of the future.

In essence, Maggie is a helper, always putting others needs at a level of priority whether she knows them or not. It is this helping spirit that leads Maggie to respond to the government’s call for caterers
Dolf Patijn
Dec 15, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable book about Maggie who runs one of the kitchens set up by the British Government in WWII. Caroline Beecham could have done more with this book though. She could have used the customers of the restaurant to dig more into every day life during the first years of the war in London. It focusses a lot on the food and there is a bit of a love story in there too but it lacks atmosphere and depth. The added recipes are nice.

I did enjoy this book but it was just about 3 stars in my o
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well I love reading, I love books and I love anything about food. So this covered all my loves! What a great read. I found it started a little bit slow and built up. The subject matter was very interesting and being set in the World War Two era you felt the hardship and tough times those who lived through it felt. But there was also love, friendship, family, happiness and more.
The ending was not what I expected and would love to know what happened after the war...
Lynn Bryant
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very much enjoyed this book. I grew up in East London on tales of my mum’s life during the war. Great story, enjoyable characters and a lot of historical detail. Thoroughly recommend this as a book to curl up and be comfortable with - this book should come with cushions, blankets, hot chocolate and a roaring fire. Loved it.
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
A delightful and unusual tale set in war torn London. I was enthralled to discover information about these times and the government restaurants such as Maggie's Kitchen. The author cleverly interweaves fact with fiction to produce a fascinating story. ...more
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was fortunate to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway and it was an enjoyable, easy and well researched read. There were many aspects that I really enjoyed. The characters were well-rounded and believable, the storyline kept me captivated and the descriptions of the London setting very much depicted the era; I especially liked the small reference to the Selfridges store. I also found the information regarding the resourcefulness, pressures and limitations that people who ran kitchens during t ...more
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway. Loved the concept of this book. The central characters of Maggie and Robbie were well developed however the characterization of some of the other characters were more superficial and they could have played more of a part in the story to develop the tension. I felt that the ending was rushed but felt perhaps the author was setting the scene for a follow on novel. More tension could have been developed with the issue of Mr Boyle and the supplies and ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed Maggie's Kitchen. It is a historical fiction however I would also class it as chic lit. I thought the book was well written and the characters were generally well written but without much depth. I did find Robbie had a bit too much understanding of life and was able to read situations a bit too well for a 12 year old, even taking into account how war makes people grow up quickly. I really enjoyed the food through
Talking Books
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Much melancholy portrayed in a time fraught with danger and stressful circumstances faced by each of the characters in the story. Loss and second chances, turmoil and success. A chaotic time with each character thrown together in wartime, where their everyday was filled with danger, trials, secrets and discoveries. Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham was riveting reading from the first page and kept this reader glued to the story till the finish.
Advanced Review Copy received from Allen & Unwin
Hannah Joy  S.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: wwii-books
I was soooo surprised when I received an email telling me that I had won this book via the Goodreads giveaway I had entered.
It took about 5-6 weeks to arrive. When my sister handed me a parcel addressed to me, I was thrilled. And what did I find inside? Not 1 but 2 books. Yes, they sent me another book, an advanced copy no less! Elanor's Secret by Caroline Beecham, due to release in May 2018.

I have a full review up on my blog:

I really enjoyed it and I recommend it to anyone who likes historical
Nov 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an easy and fairly enjoyable read. I was impressed by the extensive research that had clearly gone into the book, with fascinating details about wartime cooking and rationing. I liked the inclusion of quotes from various historical documents at the start of each chapter.

It was an undemanding read, with a pretty light plot and simple characters, but enjoyable nonetheless. I did think it ended quite abruptly, with some loose ends not resolved.
Susan Fox
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just finished this book and I loved it! A sensitively written book with the added extra of wartime cookery recipes and information. Creating a story around this unknown part of history was very clever and the characters live on long after you finish the book. I would love to read about them again or perhaps even see them on the screen - it's such an interesting story and would make a great TV drama. ...more
Shire of Dardanup Libraries
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Maggie's Kitchen - an easy read that takes the reader into the everyday lives of Londoners living through World War ll. I didn't know about the food kitchens so found it fascinating to read into a different perspective of that period and resourcefulness of people running the kitchens. Recipes at the back were a bonus.

Alicia Huxtable
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-wins
A real feel good story filled with emotion. All Maggie wants to do is cook and feed those in need but when she gets the chance it sees like everything and everyone is against her. But unlikely friendships form and Maggie starts to triumph. Definately a fantastic read and the recipes at the going to try a few for sure
Gill Cox
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This novel has a great combination of historical interest (set in London during World War II), community spirit, gentle romance and drama. The author's descriptions are vivid without being verbose and capture the spirit of this era. A thoroughly enjoyable read! ...more
Sonia Bellhouse
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Maggie has opened a wartime restaurant- a long-held dream of hers. She is facing problems with supplies as her restaurant becomes too popular. Dealing with red tape and Ministry of Food types is exhausting enough, but then there is twelve-year-old Robbie to worry about too. Where are his parents? Janek the helpful and mysterious Pole reminded me of the Czech officer Marek in the sadly missed and inexplicably cancelled ITV series Home Fires.
Maggie didn’t really ‘come alive’ for me and it felt lik
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this first book by Caroline Beecham. Her way of writing is very detailed, poetic, engaging and evocative. So many courageous people ready to endure very arduous and unfortunate situations. The underlying food scenario is really appreciated!
I must admit that the end did not satisfy me much. I hope the writer is working on a sequel and that is the reason of the, in my idea, a little abrupt ending. I would love to read another book about these same characters and the new joys and struggles
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Caroline is a British-born Australian-based author, with 20 years experience as a writer and producer in film and television. She has worked on a documentary about Princess Diana lookalikes, a series about journeys to the ends of the earth, as well as a feature film about finding the end of the rainbow. While she has done none of these things herself, she has discovered that she loves to write and ...more

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