Winner of the 2017 Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award
'Ian McEwan did this with Atonement, Sarah Waters did it with The Night Watch, and Chris Cleave does it too with Everyone Brave is Forgiven... A compelling and finely crafted novel.' FT
An extraordinary story of love and honour in extreme circumstances, from the multi-award-winning author of THE OTHER HAND.
Instant New York Times bestseller
Evening Standard top ten bestseller
iBooks BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016
Irish Times summer reading pick
'A cracker' Stylist, 10 Exciting Books in 2016
'His best book to date' Esquire, 10 best novels of 2016
Guardian Literary Highlight of 2016
Independent Best Book to read in 2016
Irish News Top Picks for 2016
Washington Post 20 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2016
In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War - daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.
When war is declared in London in 1939, Mary rushes to the War Office to sign up. She is assigned to be a teacher (not the glamorous war job she'd pictured), but the children soon win her over, especially a child in her class named Zachary. When her class is evacuated to the country, Mary persuades Tom, her lover and a school administrator, to allow her to teach a small group of rejected children who are forced to remain. Meanwhile, Tom's roommate, Alistair, volunteers for the army and must endure a horrifying retreat in France before assignment to the island of Malta, where he and his fellow soldiers receive little food and are constantly under fire. On leave between assignments, Alistair meets Mary and the two are instantly attracted to each other despite their loyalties to Tom. Slowly at first, they begin corresponding as the war plunges forward and the personal losses pile up. Real, engaging characters, based loosely on Cleave's (Little Bee) 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.