1940, Nurse Annie Russell finds a baby on her doorstep one night. She is keen to reunite the infant with its mother but who could it be? Her family resolve to care for the child until the mother can be found but there isn’t much time before social services will take the baby for adoption…
The Ration Book Baby is an historical novel set in the Englsih countryside during WW2.
Annie Russell and her parents are at the heart of their community so a desperate mother knows she can leave her baby safely with them. Annie is keen to find the mother to check on her welfare and support her. She has a few clues to work on but isn’t sure if it could be a local woman or someone from the Polish refugee network.
Annie’s search is supported by her parents and other locals but it is her friendship with Wing Commander Chambers from the local air base that ads another dimension to the plot. I had my fingers crossed that the pair would fall in love but when he mentions he is engaged I thought my hopes were dashed!
There is a lot of emotion in this book from the baby plot thread as we hope for a happy reunion between mother and child. The village celebrates the successes of the airmen whilst also mourning the terrible injuries and deaths. Not everyone is accepting of the Polish refugees and I liked that the author didn’t shy away from including unpleasant aspects.
I felt that the historical elements of the book gave an authentic basis for the plot and was fully immersed in the past and plot. The language and dialogue also supported the historical setting and the social conventions of the era.
The Ration Book Baby is an enjoyable, emotional, and warmly toned historical novel.
The Ration Book Baby: An utterly heart-wrenching and uplifting World War 2 saga (A Village at War) by Ellie Curzon
England, 1940. Opening the box with trembling hands, she couldn’t believe it – a tiny baby lay inside. She gently lifted the newborn as it started to cry. Cradling the little one to her chest, she searched the darkness for any sign of whoever left it here. And as she rocked the child, something fluttered to the ground… a ration book.
Nurse Annie Russell anxiously listens to the terrifying sounds of planes and gunfire overhead, worried about what the morning will bring for the patients in her care. The boys from the local airfield fly up in the skies each night, risking their lives to protect the people of Bramble Heath village, but they can’t stop every bombshell. Until a knock at the door makes her jump.
Awaiting Annie on the doorstep is a hatbox. Peeking under the lid, she gasps – inside is a whimpering newborn, round cheeks glistening with tears. The poor little thing may be all alone, but someone must truly love the baby… Tucked into a hand-knitted blanket, there’s a precious ration book, vital for food supplies in these darkest of days.
Her heart breaking, Anniedoes everything she can to care for her tiny charge. But, without a ration book, she knows that the frightened young mother could also be in dire need of help too. Then social services bring devastating news. If Annie can’t find the helpless child’s family soon, the authorities will have to take the little one away.
As the Nazi threat grows, more and more of the brave pilots at the local airbase don’t come home. Is one of the fallen the child’s father? And with her only clue leading nowhere, can Annie find the answers she needs, and reunite the innocent baby with its parents before it is too late?
A totally unputdownable and emotional historical novel that will have you reading late into the night. Perfect for fans of Diney Costeloe, Martha Hall Kelly and Before We Were Yours.
Ellie Curzon is the pen name of Catherine Curzon and Helen Barrell. Catherine and Helen began writing together in the spring of 2017 and swiftly discovered a shared love of the past and a uniquely British sort of story. They drink gallons of tea, spend hours discussing the importance of good tailoring and are never at a loss for a bit of derring-do.
Catherine Curzon is an author and historian of old Hollywood and even older royalty. In addition to a series of eighteenth century biographies and a sell-out play, she has written extensively for a number of international publications, and has spoken at venues and events across the United Kingdom. Catherine lives in a haze of Dean Martin atop a steep Yorkshire hill, with a rakish gentleman and a very woolly dog.
Helen Barrell has written two books on Victorian crime, and has appeared on BBC1 and Radio 4. She loves researching family history and rummaging in libraries and archives. Originally from the south-east of England, Helen now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat, who resembles a Viking, and a well-stocked 1960’s cocktail bar.