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Everyone brave is forgiven
2016
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Summary

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 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.

Moving from Blitz-torn London to the Siege of Malta, this is an epic story of love, loss, prejudice and incredible courage.

Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
Loosely based on his grandparents' WWII-era lives, Cleave's (Gold, 2012; Little Bee, 2009) intensely felt new novel follows the soul-plumbing journeys of four young Londoners fighting their own personal battles as their world breaks apart. They include aristocratic Mary North, who derives unexpected purpose from teaching city children after their more socially acceptable peers are evacuated to the countryside; her friend Hilda; Tom, Mary's middle-class supervisor and lover, and his roommate, Alistair, a Royal Artillery officer. Mary and Alistair's mutual attraction complicates matters yet serves as a lifeline for them both. Just as transformative for Mary are her mentorship of an African American student, which almost everyone disapproves of, and her up-and-down relationship with Hilda, one shaped by their joint experiences and occasional jealousy. Full of insight and memorably original phrasings, the story is leavened by sardonic humor, although the consistently high level of wit in the dialogue sometimes feels unrealistic. Cleave paints an emotion-filled portrait of a damaged city with its inequities amplified by war and of courageous individuals whose connections to one another make them stronger.--Johnson, Sarah Copyright 2016 Booklist
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