From the author of the number-one New York Times best-selling Little Bee, a spellbinding novel about three unforgettable individuals thrown together by war, love, and their search for belonging in the ever-changing landscape of WWII London.
It's 1939, and Mary, a young socialite, is determined to shock her blueblood political family by volunteering for the war effort. She is assigned as a teacher to children who were evacuated from London and have been rejected by the countryside because they are infirm, are mentally disabled, or - like Mary's favorite student, Zachary - have colored skin.
Tom, an education administrator, is distraught when his best friend, Alastair, enlists. Alastair, an art restorer, has always seemed far removed from the violent life to which he has now condemned himself. But Tom finds distraction in Mary, first as her employer and then as their relationship quickly develops in the emotionally charged times. When Mary meets Alastair, the three are drawn into a tragic love triangle and - while war escalates and bombs begin falling around them - further into a new world unlike any they've ever known.
A sweeping epic with the kind of unforgettable characters, cultural insights, and indelible scenes that made Little Bee so incredible, Chris Cleave's latest novel explores the disenfranchised, the bereaved, the elite, the embattled. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven is a heartbreakingly beautiful story of love, loss, and incredible courage.
©2016 Chris Cleave (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
Glib, blithe, hyper, overwritten, excessively plucky, and idiotic with endless dialogue that felt straight out of a Noel Coward play. What's more, I was extremely uncomfortable with what presented itself as a complex exploration of racism during WWII Britain using a child character. However, to my ears, it just sounded instead like plain and simple racism. Nothing about this story holds up to the reality and the horrors of war. There are so many excellent books about home front life during WWII that it's a shame to waste time with this entry into the genre. To me, this book is only for people who enjoy romanticizing the war years. Can't recommend.
If you can look past the clumsiness of some of the subplots - Alistair's story line isn't too bad and makes sticking through everything else almost worth it.
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
No I haven't
Probably all of the really offensive racist things...which would be like half of the book.
I love WWII Fiction - so this should have been right up my alley, but the author was just trying too desperately to be clever like Kurt Vonnegut or Joseph Heller and failed miserably. In his attempts to handle serious issues such as racism and feminism in a pithy and satirical manner, he just ends up being offensive...kind of like The Tortilla Curtain. I know I'm no Voltaire, and I get the difficulties of satire, but unfortunately I don't think this author gets the subtleties of it. I also didn't really care for some of the characters - Hilda was insufferable and Tom was a complete downer.
Having read All The Light We Cannot See and the Nightingale, this book was a real disappointment to me. The character development wasn't great and the story just didn't cut it for me. I also loved Citizen of London and Nancy Wake's story.
No - I love books about WWII - but there are better ones.
Just felt like the story meandered around and I didn't really feel the passage of time as the war progressed. I know many people enjoyed this book, it just didn't do it for me.
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
There was so much that I loved about this book, I couldn't put it down. Themes were about bravery, forgiveness, hope / hopelessness, and British fortitude. Other theme that surprised me was racism / prejudice, and the black minstrel entertainment industry in London during the war, (which I think played out exactly, exactly, exactly right). Also there were the rejected children, the outcasts.
I have so many quotes I want to tag, but its harder when mainly reading by audio, though I also read the hardcover, too. The narrator here is marvelous. The letters are need to see in print.
Here are some similar, though not exact, comparisons: All the Light We Cannot See, the English Patient, also even Birdsong and the first couple of seasons of Downton Abbey (but WWII).
There is one thing the author chose to do that would never fly in America, in fact publishers and citizens are erasing our current histories because it is too painful for us. It was shocking to see/hear, and yet the point of the author was definitely emphasized. Is it true that the British were skin-color prejudiced? That in fact the whole world is and was prejudiced in one way or another? That it is not just the sin of America? (Particularly the South?) Was it alright to use the historically accurate descriptions, or does it do more harm than good? Do we try to bury the past, or do we look it in the face so that we can know we don't want to ever go there again?
On a bigger scale, I don't see younger generations read these kinds of books. Will this change? How can we be safe if we don't read these stories, too? How can we know where we are going if we don't know where we have been?
Alistair Heath was the most developed and interesting
Perhaps. Some readers will be interested in what happens next to Alistair and Mary
This was so depressing and just a total downer - there is little to find inspiring or uplifting
I loved the writing style. It was poetic in description and so delicate and forceful at the same time. I truly marveled at the piquant humor of the Brits in the face of such horror and desolation. The characters were so well fleshed out. I felt like I knew them all. A very highly recommended book. I'm going to miss Alastair and Mary and Hilda.
Actually a performance, befitting an excellent historical novel that does not whitewash the London blitz nor the early desperate years of WW II.
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