Review: Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

25814512*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: Everyone Brave is Forgiven

Author: Chris Cleave

Publisher: Bond Street Books

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 9780385685023

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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 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.


I’ve always wanted to read Cleave’s Little Bee but it’s never made it to the top of my to read pile. Everyone Brave is Forgiven is my first foray into this author’s writing, and I was very pleasantly surprised. It is certainly not a fast paced novel and it’s not going to have your heart pounding. This is a story that unfolds quietly and boldly into a tragic tale of love, loss, and survival. I quiet liked each of the characters in their own way. Tom is quiet and devoted. Alistair is determined to fight for his country and is irrevocably changed by the war. Mary wants to do what she can to contribute to the war effort, even if it means that she’ll see and experience the most horrific of things. These characters find themselves brought together and torn apart by the war.

It’s a story that sneaks up on you, moving slowly at first and unfurling into an emotional and moving tale about people who are simply trying to survive. Cleave brings the second World War to life in these pages, sharing the experiences of soldiers abroad, and civilians back at home. It deals with the war effort in Malta, the struggle with morphine addition after the drug is used to treat the pain of injury, the conflict of race in a city ravaged by bombs, and the difficulties of friendship in a time when the looming possibility of death calls everything into question.

I hope you enjoy this books as much as I did. It has a lot to offer in terms of story and character. It brings unique viewpoints to the discussion of World War II, which is always appreciated. I loved it for it’s quiet unfolding and it’s large emotions.

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