Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

Book - 2016
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"As World War Two begins, Mary - a newly qualified teacher in London, left behind to teach the few children not evacuated - meets Tom, a school official. They quickly fall in love, but this is not a simple love story. Moving from Blitz-torn London to the Siege of Malta, this is an epic story of love, loss, prejudice and incredible courage."
Publisher: Toronto, ON :, Bond Street Books/Doubleday Canada,, 2016
ISBN: 9780385685023
Characteristics: 424 p. ; 24 cm

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d
dpcheney
Oct 13, 2018

This is a very entertaining read. The characters brought to life with their sarcastic British humor, but are also flawed, and the main basis of the novel is essentially a study in how imperfect our lives are, and that of society, when even faced with enormous challenges, revert to basic instincts and prejudices. What sins are permissible even in a deathly struggle? What portions of our society are worth saving, which are abhorrent? The fact that one of the main characters' pre war career was to restore paintings plays nicely with the story. Also, I shall never open a jar of preserves without appreciation again.

EverythingTouches Jul 05, 2018

The friendship relationships in this one were truly special. I enjoyed the witty dialog and the subtle use of deep affection and loyalty to develop them. However I found the romances to be tedious and overly complicated. The coverage of the WWII bombing of London and the prejudices suffered by African Americans was interesting. There were some well written parts but mostly I felt the emphasis was on moving the story quickly along, sacrificing meaningful moments that might resonate with the reader.

r
r0cdjmg
Mar 19, 2018

I liked the story and the characters but it was very sad.

b
becker
Aug 27, 2017

There is no end to the amount of World War II fiction that is available and I have read a lot of it. Yet each book seems to offer a different perspective or experience of the same story and I never seem to grow tired of it. Everyone Brave is Forgiven takes the chaos of the war and then zooms the story down to 4 individual lives. 4 friends who all have their own unique personal journey through the war but who connect in ways that I found very touching. It demonstrates the impact of war not only on the personal level but also on the person's role in society. Where do we fit? Where do we belong, and how does the war change all the rules?

w
wyenotgo
Jul 05, 2017

I know I'm at odds with most reviewers but Cleave's terribly clever British repartee is infuriatingly phony, like fingernails screeching on a blackboard. Were there ever living people who talked that way? If so, I'm happy not to have met them! And then there are sentences such as: "She supposed that nature had no provision for conkers beyond the earnest expectation that boys in knee shorts would always come, world without end, to take them home and dangle them on shoe laces and invest each one with brash and improbable hope." Pardon me, but what in God's holy name does that mean?
As for the characters: A quartet of prigs.
Yes, the book has garnered positive reviews; Its merit begins to emerge 80+ pages in. But the style, the language, the characters, none of it appeals to me and the annoying aspects overwhelmed it.

m
MindfulDaydreamer
Jan 10, 2017

Engaging, witty, and beautifully written.

athompson10 Jan 08, 2017

Reminds me a LOT of "All the Light We Cannot See." Lyrical writing, changing narrators, and a compelling story moving between wartime London and the island of Malta, both under siege by the Luftwaffe.

brianreynolds Dec 20, 2016

Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave seems to want to be about the horror of war and the bravery of upper class English families during the early months of the London Blitz and the siege of Malta. What it doesn’t seem to be about is either the wrongness of war or the evil of Fascism or the belated involvement of the USA. Instead the author pokes once again at racism and class while constructing a bleak but absorbing archetypal comedy. While the outcome of the romance between the two fairly naive but adorable characters is seriously predictable from the start, the obstacles to be overcome are quite rightly so serious that in the end... Well, there’s no point in giving everything away, is there? It’s well-constructed, well-written (lovely in places) and well-meant. The blight of early 1940’s discrimination deserves a spotlight. Personally, however, that seemed ironic. My American father quite proudly credited that war with changing his views on race 180 degrees—for the better. But that’s an entirely different book.

a
axeman
Nov 03, 2016

Four friends in wartime England. Issues of race and class are addressed but this book has a very witty side. Lots of wise cracking dialogue among the friends as well as the solid writing made this a really engaging book.

c
crazycatlibrarian
Sep 22, 2016

Yet another World War II story in the recent lineup, done very well. Particularly powerful is the descriptive voice, the reader feels very much there, in London during the bombings in the rubble. Rebellious Mary North, from a privileged family, wants to help the war effort and struggles to find her place as a teacher, an ambulance driver, as a lover, and a survivor. Not predictable, deeply engaging.

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