Having been a big fan of Chris Cleave’s previous work, particularly the wonderfully moving Incendiary, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book, his new one set during WWII. It tells the story of a young woman named Mary North who is desperate to do her bit during the war. She finds herself dropped into the world of teaching which wasn’t quite what she was expecting but she does meet Tom Shaw, who decides that fighting isn’t for him and also Tom’s friend, Alistair who decides the opposite and joins up straightaway.
The book got off to a slow start for me and had many ups and downs in terms of its appeal. It’s billed as a sweeping epic and it does fit the bill but it was a bit dry in places and over-worded and I didn’t feel as much for the characters as I would have liked. However, there are some brilliant sections and the quality of the writing is still fantastic. Whilst I liked parts of this book, I didn’t enjoy it overall as much as any of his other books, despite a wartime setting which always appeals and interests me. I look forward to seeing what Cleave comes up with next as all of his books are different.
[Ed: I haven’t read this book but agree Incendiary – a former nb Recommended Read – is well worth seeking out as is The Other Hand.]
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
978-1473618695|Sceptre hbk April 2016
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