I received this book courtesy of Ms. Nunn for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
Overview: In 1943, a young Eileen Smith was hired to work at ‘Mrs. Mumson’s’ “guesthouse.” (Let’s not upset anyone by calling it what it is, a boardinghouse.) Here is the four month period of Eileen’s kitchen…experiments…and all the gossip that lives in such a close community.
Story Telling: From Ms. Smith’s own words: “Boardinghouse Stew” is her memoir, based on her most famous play by the same name, that, unfortunately for us all, was written some forty-plus years after the facts. As such, even she isn’t sure how much is accurate, and how much is little more than fanciful recollections of ‘the good old days.’
Likes: You have to like Eileen’s work ethic. She is better at the cleaning job than I am. The place wouldn’t look near as nice as it did if I was cleaning it.
Oh, I would like to think that Ms. Smith correctly inferred Teddy’s job (the only real man, other than Doc, in the book.)
Patsy and Doc were cute. But I’ll thank her not to visit Doc while he is with a patient.
Margaret needed those who stood beside her. I’m glad that Teddy and the others were there when she needed them the most.
Dislikes: I’m sure Mrs. Mumson was a kind old lady, but I would work for her. She seemed to short change a lot of people.
Howard was a very bad Christian. Here’s a surprise for all who think like him out there: if it is a sin for a woman to have sex outside of marriage, then it is a sin for a man to have sex outside of marriage as well. I just wish that Teddy had hit him harder.
And Iris. Please don’t start with her. She was a…well…domineering woman who, seemingly, saw the war as a chance to prove her worth.
Favorite Character: I like strong, upstanding men. That is why I liked Teddy. He encouraged others to look on the bright side, but also insisted that they do the right thing.
Favorite Quote: I hope that Doc lived long enough to witness his hopes come true. “I just hope I live to see a world where children grow up with no threat of polio, smallpox, or even measles!” Of course, if he is still alive, he might want to smack a few people right now.
Favorite Scene: The best parts were Eileen’s reaction to Iris wearing the gas mask, and when Teddy gave Eileen the card. Or how about when the tension between Howard and Teddy came to a head? Howard so deserved it.
Conclusion: This was a terrific story. I’m proud to admit that it made my library. Please consider it for yours.