By: Steve Clark – well worth the read.
To get to Britain she must endure a miserable and dangerous transatlantic crossing in a convoy, because the magazine won’t spring for the expensive air fare, reflecting their opinion of the value of the new girl.
When Ruby arrives in London, she lands a companion gig at a London weekly magazine, allowing her to write for English readers from an American point of view, and for Americans as an on-the-spot reporter. On her first day, she is met at the train station by Bennett who is best friends with the editor of the London magazine. Bennett is tall, handsome, and aristocratic. It takes Ruby about 30 seconds to be thoroughly infatuated. The Blitz is just beginning, and she is instructed on shelter protocol. German bombers are coming every night.
Ruby slides into her work showing skill as a writer and interviewer, especially connecting with persons who are homeless from the bombing. Everyone at the paper likes her except the assistant editor who becomes jealous and resents her getting important assignments immediately from the boss. Ruby establishes a strong friendship with Mary, the photographer, who accompanies her on assignments. Everything is going smoothly in the transition until a bomb destroys the hotel where Ruby is staying along with all of her personal identification and belongings. Sadly, another explosion kills Mary.
Bennett finds her a place to stay with aristocratic friends of his family. They quickly adopt Ruby as their own. For the first time in her life she feels like she has a proper home. As the war continues, Bennett is in and out of Ruby’s life, occasionally dropping in for dinner or a quick lunch and disappearing again immediately. Ruby can’t seem to learn anything about his secret work or get a romance going. After Hitler invades Russia, the Blitz ends and life in London settles down into the hardship of rationing, but without the bombs.
All of this is told with PG language, no violence, and no sex. Chick lit as its best. Ruby is a sympathetic and inspiring character. Bennett is the consummate gentleman. Ruby’s hosts are delightful. Only the assistant editor and Hitler are villains.
The twist arrives when British police discover that there is a problem with Ruby’s entry papers into the UK and she is arrested. She manages with some help to stay in the country and eventually lands a coveted assignment in France after the ally invasion in June 1944. There she meets up again with Bennett.
The tale is sweetly told, the history is accurate except for one small mistake — there wasn’t a United States Air Force during World War II. It was known as the Army Air Force. It’s a good read for anyone who wants a bird’s eye view of the Second World War in England, without getting complicated. The romance can be a little frustrating since it takes so . . . so long to get going but is worth the ending. Goodnight from London is a nice weekend read without getting too serious and I give it a solid B.