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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"Luke Thompson delivers a fine and nuanced narration of Chris Cleave’s moving new novel... Thompson draws telling vocal portraits of the three very different protagonists; does nice sketches of lesser characters, including an American black child and his father; and paces his delivery perfectly for a story that shuttles between peace and desperation." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Weak

Completely foreseen ending, little development. Weakest historical nonfiction yet. Narrator was excellent. Sincerely disappointed, both for loss of time and money.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Sara
  • Out In The Wild Blue Yonder
  • 05-09-16

Absolutely No

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.

51 of 71 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I Think I Get the Inspiration But....

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

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.

What do you think your next listen will be?

American Gods - Neil Gaiman

Have you listened to any of Luke Thompson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I haven't

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Everyone Brave Is Forgiven?

Probably all of the really offensive racist things...which would be like half of the book.

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

What disappointed you about Everyone Brave Is Forgiven?

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.

Has Everyone Brave Is Forgiven turned you off from other books in this genre?

No - I love books about WWII - but there are better ones.

Which character – as performed by Luke Thompson – was your favorite?

Alasdair

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Everyone Brave Is Forgiven?

????

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SydSavvy
  • PARIS, TX, United States
  • 09-02-16

Who is really Brave?

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?

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I loved it until the very last page.

I was so connected to these characters and engrossed in the story, I hated to part with them. The reading was amazing. I knew exactly who was speaking and where they were. Beautiful prose and storytelling. I learned a great deal about WWII London and lesser known details about the horrors the inhabitants experienced. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of a great love story with historical elements.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Liked all but the end

I don’t need a book to end neatly or even at all; but to end flat void of the emotion that caught your attention to start is a bit disappointing.
Overall I enjoyed the banter and sarcasm that only the British can do properly.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sally
  • Cupertino, CA, United States
  • 02-13-18

Great story, distracting narrator

This story of love, family, and friendship is beautifully written but I almost put it down several times because of the narrator. His highly affected, falsetto accent for Mary was off putting.similar for Hilda and Simpson.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Don't normally write reviews, but how could I not.

Would you listen to Everyone Brave Is Forgiven again? Why?

I'd easily listen to this book again. The narrator was exceptional, and the author's skill with words was beyond beautiful.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Each character captured your heart, and were uniquely their own person. Choosing a favorite would be like asking a mother to chose the child she loved the most.

Have you listened to any of Luke Thompson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I'm new to listening to Luke Thompson, but now, I'm definitely a big fan. What a lovely voice Luke has.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were pages and pages where you could feel the dust in the air, your stomach rumble with hunger, the ear-piercing sounds of bombs falling all around you, the utter exhaustion of the men. As close to war as I will ever want to be.
Without wanting to give away a certain scene, I will just touch on the incident where Mary's life is in danger. Handled so skillfully and with such beauty, you are right there with her. Fading in and out of that "in between" state.

Any additional comments?

Although I read Little Bee and appreciated the story and writing, this novel is by far in a league of its own!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • gw
  • 01-03-18

great book but didn't love the ending

This was a great story... But it seemed to end a bit too soon without finishing the storyline on a number of key characters.