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Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
Cover of Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
The instant New York Times bestseller from Chris Cleave—the unforgettable novel about three lives entangled during World War II, told "with dazzling prose, sharp English wit, and compassion...a powerful portrait of war's effects on those who fight and those left behind" (People, Book of the Week).
London, 1939. The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she'd be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave's grandparents. This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.
The instant New York Times bestseller from Chris Cleave—the unforgettable novel about three lives entangled during World War II, told "with dazzling prose, sharp English wit, and compassion...a powerful portrait of war's effects on those who fight and those left behind" (People, Book of the Week).
London, 1939. The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she'd be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave's grandparents. This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.
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About the Author-
  • Chris Cleave is the author of Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, Gold, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Little Bee. He lives with his wife and three children in Kingston-upon-Thames, England. Visit him at ChrisCleave.com or on Twitter @ChrisCleave.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 25, 2016
    When war is declared in London in 1939, Mary rushes to the War Office to sign up. She is assigned to be a teacher (not the glamorous war job she’d pictured), but the children soon win her over, especially a child in her class named Zachary. When her class is evacuated to the country, Mary persuades Tom, her lover and a school administrator, to allow her to teach a small group of rejected children who are forced to remain. Meanwhile, Tom’s roommate, Alistair, volunteers for the army and must endure a horrifying retreat in France before assignment to the island of Malta, where he and his fellow soldiers receive little food and are constantly under fire. On leave between assignments, Alistair meets Mary and the two are instantly attracted to each other despite their loyalties to Tom. Slowly at first, they begin corresponding as the war plunges forward and the personal losses pile up. Real, engaging characters, based loosely on Cleave’s (Little Bee) own grandparents, come alive on the page. Insightful, stark, and heartbreaking, Cleave’s latest novel portrays the irrepressible hopefulness that can arise in the face of catastrophe. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM Partners.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2016
    Privileged young Londoners lose their sense of entitlement and their moral innocence in Cleave's (Gold, 2012, etc.) romantic but very adult World War II love story. In 1939, Mary North and her friend Hilda are cosseted upper-class girls used to servants and tea at the Ritz. But as soon as England declares war, 18-year-old Mary quits finishing school and signs up to serve through the War Office. Sent to an elementary school, she is disappointed when practically her first task is to help evacuate her students from London. Looking for another teaching position, she meets 23-year-old Tom Shaw, who runs the school district. Melancholy iconoclast Tom does not enlist, believing "someone must stay behind who understands how to put it all back together," but his more debonair roommate, Alistair, a conservator at the Tate, does join up. At first Alistair's brutal experiences on the battlefront offer a stark contrast to the ease of the Londoners' lives. Mary relishes teaching misfit children who remain in London, forming a particular bond with 10-year-old Zachary, a black American--the era's racial prejudice becomes an undercurrent throughout the novel. Mary and Tom fall into heady love. Hilda remains a boy-crazy snob. When Alistair comes home on leave, the four spend an evening together. Hilda is attracted to Alistair, who is drawn to Mary, who is attracted back but does her best to remain loyal to Tom, who secretly tries to enlist but is turned down. Alistair ends up on Malta facing dire conditions under the Axis blockade. Meanwhile, the Blitz hits London. Suddenly no one is safe, and all face harsh realities. While Mary, Tom, and Alistair are all deeply complicated beneath their bantering wit, it is secondary character Hilda who grabs the reader's heart as she evolves from Noel Coward joke into full-fledged human being. Among all the recent fictions about the war, Cleave's miniseries of a novel is a surprising standout, with irresistibly engaging characters who sharply illuminate issues of class, race, and wartime morality.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    December 1, 2015
    The author of the No. 1 "New York Times" best-selling "Little Bee" and, more recently, "Gold" (lots of starred reviews), Cleave here opens just as World War II is erupting. Having volunteered for the war effort, upper-crust Mary finds herself teaching children evacuated from the countryside. She's friendly with education administrator Tom, who's worried about recently enlisted friend Alastair, and a love triangle soon forms.

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
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