Book Review: Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson

Goodnight from London is Jennifer Robson’s fourth novel and is a historical fiction that focuses on life in London during the Second World War. The novel follows Ruby Sutton, a young American journalist as she is uprooted from her job in New York and sent to London to cover the war as a staff writer for the London newsmagazine Picture Weekly and a correspondent for The American, where she had been working when the war began.

Ruby travels to London in the summer of 1940, just before the beginning of the Blitz. Nothing prepares Ruby for the experiences she will encounter living in war-torn London, but through these experiences, she discovers how strong she is independently, as well as how to rely on the support and kindness of others in crisis and how family isn’t always the people we’re related to through blood.

Book Review: Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson | kathleenhelen

The Book: Goodnight from London

As previously demonstrated in her other novels, Robson is a master at immersing the reader into the novel. Goodnight from London is no different, and the reader is enveloped by Ruby’s world and experiences the war through her eyes, in the background of her daily struggles. The focus on the life of her characters is one of the reasons I enjoy Robson’s books, and I was happy to find it continued throughout Goodnight from London. Now, that is not to say that the war does not play a part in the novel, it is, of course, a work of historical fiction and Ruby’s life is affected by the events happening in the world at large, especially the Blitz, not to mention that her job, which is a large focus of the novel, is to write about the war. But the novel does a fantastic job at displaying the civilian side of the Second World War, from those removed in London, which is a side often overlooked by other authors.

The novel is a little glossy and romantic for one that deals with such weighty matter, but it is well researched and well written, and the characters are realistic and likeable. I also love that it shows women advancing in the workplace and some of the struggles they faced. This was most clearly illustrated after the U.S. entered the war and American newspapers sent more journalists, the majority of which were, at this point, men. Ruby encounters a former co-worker who has been sent and who has absolutely zero interest in listening to her opinions or advice about how things work in England – and not understanding that although the U.S. had just entered the war, Britain had been enduring it for 2 years already.

My Recommendation

I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in reading about a different side of the Second World War. Goodnight in London is a quick, enjoyable read and although the romantic side was predictable and felt slightly like it was form written, the daily life was fascinating and quickly captured my attention.

I also loved the fact that we see a few familiar faces from Robson’s previous novels, all of which I would also recommend (Somewhere in France, After the War is Over, and Moonlight Over Paris).

I gave Goodnight from London 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads

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Book Review: Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson | kathleenhelen

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