Review: Everyone Brave is Forgiven – Chris Cleave

Hurray! Lull in the semester! Quick Sara, write all of the reviews you can!

Yes, it’s true, I’ve been very naughty when it has come to this blog over the past month.

The semester has been pretty brutal, and my reading has not been as stellar as it was this time last year.

As such, I figured what better way to get back into reading than with listening to an audiobook of a book that has been on my shelf for a while (yes, I am aware that I just essentially bought the book twice, but it got me to read it so, ha!)

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave was a novel I picked up in my post  All The Light We Cannot See phase, when I couldn’t get enough of World War II.

Besides picking this novel up for its World War II London Blitz setting, I can’t help but be honest that I picked it up because it was blurbed by one of my hometown papers.

Did I enjoy Everyone Brave is Forgiven? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions

The Book 

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Little Bee, a spellbinding novel about three unforgettable individuals thrown together by war, love, and their search for belonging in the ever-changing landscape of WWII London.

IMG_0751.JPGIt’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.

A sweeping epic with the kind of unforgettable characters, cultural insights, and indelible scenes that made Little Bee so incredible, Chris Cleave’s latest novel explores the disenfranchised, the bereaved, the elite, the embattled. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven is a heartbreakingly beautiful story of love, loss, and incredible courage.

The Review

The setting of Everyone Brave is Forgiven is during the Germans ‘lightning war’ over Britain.

What sets this novel apart is Cleave’s ability to describe the Blitz in a way that makes you feel as if you are right next to the characters, actually experiencing the horrors of the air raids.

Unfortunately, the prose couldn’t save the characters.

20170219 Book Blog Feb. 2017 SLV 0001.jpgOn their own, each of the characters in Everyone Brave is Forgiven has a unique quality about them, however, Cleave’s choice to make his four main characters fall in and out of love with each other hurt the overall story in my opinion.

Specifically, the love triangle between Mary, Tom, and Alistar was so forced that I didn’t care if any of them ended up with anybody.

The only character I was invested in was Zachary because he explored the idea of racism against people of colour during World War II, while also not having him in any romantic entanglements.

I wish I could have liked this book more, the first couple chapters were chalk full of potential, but in the end, this was more of a mediocre read than an epic war story.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. 

Purchase Links

Bond Street BooksAmazon | Barnes & NobleIndigo


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