Everyone
 
This month Dean & Steph review
Everyone Brave is Forgiven
Chris Cleave

Dean says; A sweeping epic of extraordinary breadth! The characters are vibrant, flawed and very real. The emotion evoked is so strong and draws you closer to an understanding of what it was to live in London through WW2. Mary North was born into a society family but signs up to serve and is sent to teach the scattering of children left behind. Hilda her best friend is posted as a nurse with the ambulances, driving around the dust collecting bodies. Tom is a schoolmaster who does not signed up and lives with the guilt of this decision while London judges him. Alistair his flat mate once an art restorer is sent France and Malta as a soldier.  The war changes these characters in every way and their lives will never be the same. Even when the war is over, how will they make peace with what they have seen? A remarkable story loosely based on Chris Cleaves grandparents and written with an elegance and sophistication that makes this a most wonderful read.

Steph says; When Dean handed me the proof copy of this book I thought I’d be spending my evening trudging through yet another conventional WWII novel. It had all the usual tropes; London in the Blitz, soldiers at the battlefront, nurses, bomb shelters, strict rations and dwindling ammunition. But Cleave didn’t stop there. Everyone Brave is Forgiven is about a school of children deemed not desirable enough to be evacuated, about the hunger, desperation and comradery on the frontline, and about what can only be described as a love quadrangle. The narrative is punctuated by some of the wittiest dialogue I’ve ever read and the epistolary romance made me ache (out of a strange combination of envy, devastation and elation). Each and every moment gripped me, to the point where I did end up spending my entire evening reading a WWII novel cover-to-cover!

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