Friday, June 17, 2016

strictly literary: everyone brave is forgiven by chris cleave


i've been on a world war ii historical fiction kick lately. it all started when i read all the light you cannot see, which was wonderful. and since then i've read the nightingale, life after life, code name verity, rose under fire, a god in ruins, and now everyone brave is forgiven. set for the most part in london between september 1939 and june 1942, and tells the story of mary north, a young 18-year-old at the start of the war who signs up for service as soon as it is declared; tom shaw, a 24-year-old educator who stays behind to run the schools; alistair heath, tom's roommate, an art restorer who also enlists as soon as war begins; and zachary, a young black student rejected as undesirable by england's countryside during the evacuation of london.

we see the start of war in the alternating view points of our main characters. and it is terrible. war is terrible and life-changing. everything is felt more intensely. love, hate, sadness, pain, laughter. this is the story of the london blitz and the siege of malta and how world war ii at times was so unbearable and unrelenting. and how people survived any way possible.

this is also a love story. because it doesn't matter how horrible the state of the world around you is, love is undeniable once it happens, when you find it, even when it is terribly inconvenient. and this is also a story of race and prejudice and standing up for your beliefs even when it is beyond difficult to stay true to them.

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