London, 1939. The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.
Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided.
Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.
Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.
And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.
Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave’s grandparents.
This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.
The “insightful, stark, and heartbreaking” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) novel about three lives entangled during World War II from the #1 New York Times bestselling author ofLittle Bee.
“With dazzling prose, sharp English wit, and compassion, Cleave paints a powerful portrait of war’s effects on those who fight and those left behind.” —People Book of the Week
“Magnificent and profoundly moving…This dazzling novel of World War II is full of unforgettable characters and the keen emotional insights that moved readers of Chris Cleave’sLittle Bee.” —Shelf Awareness
“Real, engaging characters, based loosely on Cleave’s own grandparents, come alive on the page. Insightful, stark, and heartbreaking, Cleave’s latest novel portrays the irrepressible hopefulness that can arise in the face of catastrophe.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Among all the recent fictions about the war, Cleave’s miniseries of a novel is a surprising standout, with irresistibly engaging characters.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Beautifully written, funny, gut-wrenching, and, above all, honest.” —The Daily Mail (UK)
“Intensely felt…Full of insight and memorably original phrasings.” —Booklist
“Well crafted and compelling…nostalgic and bittersweet.” —Library Journal