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The Bravery Needed to Survive During WWII - an Editorial Review of "The Kingston Twins"



Book Blurb:


London 1939. Identical twins Tillie and Maggie Kingston thrive as Lyons Corner House Nippies, blithely ignoring the war preparations surrounding them. But as WWII breaks out, the young women can't avoid the inevitable. Tillie bravely starts driving an ambulance, while Maggie joins the Women's Voluntary Service, throwing herself into danger on a mobile canteen van.


The Blitz starts raining down bombs, as day-to-day hardships and horrendous nighttime sheltering form everyday life. The entire Kingston family is affected by the nightly attacks. How will they survive the endless onslaught? Can Tillie and Maggie find love in war-torn London?


The Kingston Twins, Bravery in the Blitz takes you back to the early days of WWII and immerses you in all the emotions of that difficult time - fear, uncertainty, frustration, boredom, fortitude, and ultimately the bravery needed to survive.



Author Bio:



Creator. Writer. Historian.

I tell well-researched and highly readable stories about powerful women in extraordinary circumstances. Readers are transported to other times and places, inspired to be authentic in their own lives.


Editorial Review:


From helping at the Queen of England's party to searching the rubles for survivors, there is no

work that the gorgeous Kingston twins can't do, especially when it comes to serving their

country. Tall, slender, and blond, with an energetic and open personality, Tilly and Maggie had taken jobs at a famous restaurant in Landon against their father's wish, who was counting on them to help with the family's small business.


Little did the father know that when the restaurant was chosen to provide catering for a royal

party, his girls would have the chance to meet the new Queen, Elizabeth II. Serving the royals

and their court, Tillie's faith is sealed, although she doesn't know it yet.


This is the beginning of Deb Startas' new novel, The Kingston Twins: Bravery in the Blitz. From

here on, the story flows effortlessly into the stream of London's life. It is the beginning of World War II. Chamberlain is still Great Britain's Prime Minister, and the Munich Pact to stop the war still holds.


When I first opened this book, I thought I would read a romance set in WWII London. But I was mistaken. Tillie and Maggie Kingston are more than some young women looking for the love of their life. The twin sisters feel they have a higher calling, a better duty to fulfill, and a part to play in the events that will unfold around them and disrupt their everyday life.


Here is how Maggie's friend, Micah, sees the future:


In the coming months I should think you'll see people doing all kinds of things they never

would have done before the war," he replied. "Life would become awfully precious, and many will want to make the most of it whilst they can.”


The book's unseen character is the looming war for which every Londoner scrambles to prepare. Far and unreal at first, the shadow of the world conflagration draws closer to home every day, and the tension mounts. Mr. Kingston rightly warns his family that this war will be fought in the sky. Careful preparation of shelters, gas masks and food supplies must be done immediately. While the young men are called to arms, leaving behind their families and sweethearts, as is the case with some of the characters in this novel, the women and the older population take on volunteer tasks from firefighter and ambulance drivers to food serving and nursing. The author summarized it in one short and eloquent paragraph.


The war had been underway since September, but nothing seemed to happen. Their men

were gone, sandbags piled up all over London, the blackout caused continual havoc,

children tearfully evacuated to the country; yet life strangely went on as before.”


The start of the Blitz campaign against the United Kingdom finds every member of the Kingston family busy with the war effort. Between bombing rides, struggles to find food, and long exhausting working hours, there is little time for anything else. The social life, the romance, and the fun are thus limited and precious, but the girls haven't yet learned to treasure them. And when they receive bad news, work becomes their solace. Here is how Maggie chose to spend her time working along The Women Voluntary Service, querying the french refugees about her friend Micah:


Also new to the scene was an influx of refugees from European countries. It broke

Maggie's heart to see the haunted look in their eyes (…). Maggie paid attention to these

needy little groups. She handed out cup after cup of hot tea, alongside with fish paste

sandwiches and biscuits.”


The book reads very much like a telenovela in prose because of the bountiful and easy-to-follow dialog, often bubbly and colorful, even in the doom of the bombing. Mainly limited to war preparation or work-related tasks, the action is brief and predictable. Although I was curious to see what would become of the two girls, I found myself craving a plot that would raise the stakes for the heroines and create tension and friction within the characters.

As a reader, I always look for clues to get to know the heroes. A writing technique that shows

inner dialog combined with an in-depth description or unspoken feelings left as clues from place to place helps build an accurate and nuanced persona. Unfortunately, this novel's straightforward dialog and concise narration left little room for insights or speculation on the depth of the characters.


World War II has always been a popular choice of settings for writers. The few years that shook the world have many stories yet to uncover, all full of drama and meaning. People died, families lost their possession, borders changed, ideologies and politics shifted, and what was once normal was now just a memory. Life changed forever for everybody.


The Kingston family makes no exception. The war experience they gain will ultimately change

their perspective on life forever. I want to praise the author Deb Stratas, for an accurate and

detailed portrait of the life of an ordinary family in London at the beginning of World War II.

The Kingston Twins: Bravery in the Blitz is an entertaining and easy read that brings a slice of

turbulent history to life.


*****


“The Kingston Twins: Bravery in the Blitz” receives four stars from The Historical Fiction Company


2 comentarios


Maggie Scott
Maggie Scott
12 nov 2022

You might want to check the paragraph that claims the Kingston twins got the chance to meet the new queen, Elizabeth II, at the allegedly famous restaurant where they worked. Historical bloopers of that magnitude do not bode well. And an editorial review, for which the author presumably paid, that fails to catch this little gem--"...to searching the rubles for survivors..."--also bodes ill.

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Contestando a

Hello Maggie and thanks for the feedback. It's not Queen Elizabeth II that Tillie meets at the garden party - it's her mother (also named Queen Elizabeth). She was married to King George VI, and became Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother upon his death. Young Elizabeth and Margaret were children/teens during the war. You'll see that is referenced when Tillie encountered them in the royal tent. Your other typo looks fine in my manuscript, so I'll have to check with amazon to see if it's their error. Thanks again and hope you enjoyed the book! Deb

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