Tuesday 26 April 2016

Review: Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Publisher: Sceptre/ Simon & Schuster
Release date: 21 April / 3 May 2016
Rating: *****
Back cover blurb: 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, mentally disabled, or—like Mary’s favourite student, Zachary—have coloured 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 Contd...

I have been intrigued by this novel ever since I saw a very early proof on Twitter last year. I was on holiday in Malta at the time, and I remember thinking, I must read that!
Mary North is at a finishing school in Switzerland when she hears of the outbreak of World War Two. By noon she has signed up to volunteer in the war effort determined to have done so before her Mother can say 'No'.
Mary returns from Switzerland with illusions of becoming a spy or attache to a general's staff because of her privileged background and Father's political status. In War her name means little and she is swiftly dispatched to the local school to teach the children before being expected to accompany them to the countryside when they are duly evacuated prior to the Blitz.
Unfortunately for Mary after discovering that she loves teaching, she is told that she is not suited to the role and must leave her teaching post. As she fights to reinstate her position she meets Tom, an education administrator. And although Mary's sole purpose is to get Tom to allow her to teach again, she quickly falls in love with him.
Meanwhile Tom's housemate Alistair is embroiled in the full force of the War when he enlists and is sent at first to France and later to Malta. When he comes home on leave and meets with Tom, Mary and Mary's best friend Hilda, the intention is for Hilda and Alistair to become a couple, like Mary and Tom.
But there is an unspoken and unmistakable attraction between Mary and Alistair, and as the first bombs of the Blitz begin to fall, a chain of events begin that will change all of their lives forever.
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven is a beautifully written World War Two novel that exposes the brutality of way, along with the social injustices of the time without detracting from the wonderful love story at its heart.
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven is available now from Amazon online and all good book shops.
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Many thanks to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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