Everyone Brave Is Forgiven (Thorndike Core) (Large Print / Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Don’t miss Chris Cleave’s brilliant new novel! 

Set during WWII, the story begins brash and full of youthful enthusiasm.  Mary skied down Mont-Chuoisi, escaped finishing school, and arrived in London going straight to the War Office where she volunteered to lend a hand during the hostilities.  Assuming she would be assigned to a General or made a spy; she was disappointed when Whitehall sent her to teach school, an occupation she undertook with much verve and originality to the dismay of the principal.  Mary came from a prestigious wealthy family; her father was inches away from becoming a member of the Cabinet.  The world was her oyster and she was determined not to miss any excitement the war might provide.

Of course, reality tends to intrude on our fantasy, there is real destruction, people suffer unbearable harm, and put in harm’s way people die.  As the war intensifies, Mary realizes the cost to those without her advantages and she matures.  

Alistair worked at the Tate, his roommate, Tom, was in charge of the schools.   Alistair joins up and is shocked by the brutality of war, first in France then in the siege of Malta.  Trying to do the right thing, he faced situations where good intentions led to tragedy.  Alistair goes from being a happy young man quick with quips and passionate about art to an officer doing his best for the men under his command.  He is compassionate with a strong sense of justice.

 Another memorable character is Zachary, one of Mary’s students, a black child who suffers racism and loss yet moves through life with a kind of cocky, grace.  What was amazing about this story is the way the characters start out so young, innocent and hopeful, how they are exposed to terrible situations, yet manage to hold a core of bravery and goodness despite it all. 

Cleave shows clearly how war is worse than people imagine; how wasteful, capricious and brutal it is.   Alistair is inspired by Cleave’s grandfather who survived the siege of Malta and squired around Randolph Churchill. 

I do not mean to convey that the story is unremittingly grim, it is not.  It is funny, touching, and endearing as well, so while parts of the story are necessarily somber; it is also a feel good book and very entertaining to read.

— Deon Stonehouse

May 2016 Indie Next List

“Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, from best-selling author Cleave, is storytelling at its finest. Ranging from the decimated streets of London after the Nazi blitz in WWII to the barren island of Malta under siege, Cleave's mastery is to introduce readers to characters in the midst of chaos who bring humanity to the sordid landscape of war. A book that will leave you both laughing and crying on the same page, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven reminds readers about the power of the novel in telling the fascinating stories of everyday people living in extraordinary times.”
— Casey Protti (E), Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA


The breathtaking new novel set during the Blitz by the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of the reader and bookseller favourite, "Little Bee."
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.

About the Author

CHRIS CLEAVE is a columnist for "The Guardian" in London. His first novel, "Incendiary," was published in 20 countries, won the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. His second novel, "Little Bee," was a "New York Times" bestseller and was shortlisted for the Costa Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. In Canada, it was a national bestseller, and a reader and book club favourite. His third novel, "Gold," was also a bestseller and received wide critical acclaim. Chris Cleave lives in London with his French wife and three mischievous Anglo-French children. The author lives in London, UK.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781410489784
ISBN-10: 1410489787
Large Print: Yes
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Publication Date: May 4th, 2016
Pages: 668
Language: English
Series: Thorndike Core