Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Book Description:

Published: February 2, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

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.

It’s 1939 and Mary, a young socialite, is determined to shock her blue blood 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.

Review –

This is a historical novel set in London and Malta during the second world war. The story is, Cleave discloses in an author’s note, inspired by the lives of his grandparents: his maternal grandfather served in Malta, and his paternal grandmother drove ambulances during the blitz. But below the surface of this novel, the author explores the ways that external events beyond the individual’s control influence the private lives of the characters, with either devastating or transformative consequences.

Generally, I’m not a fan of novels about war or set in periods of war, but once I started this one I was hard pressed to hit the pause button.  The characters were diverse, complex, but a bit flat. I wish the author would have spent more time fleshing them out, especially Tom and Hilda.

With Everyone Brave Is Forgiven Cleave cements his reputation as a skillful storyteller, and a sensitive chronicler of the interplay between the political and the personal. As one character observes: “Who knows what takes more courage – to die in battle, or to live in vain? It cuts all of us in two, I suppose.”

I gave it four out of five stars.

Dolan’s Cadillac and Other Stories by Stephen King

Product Description

Stephen King’s unparalleled imagination is in full force in this collection of four unabridged short stories originally found in the classic, Nightmares & Dreamscapes. An all-star cast of readers bring to life these timeless stories from the darkest places, including the tale Dolan’s Cadillac: soon to be a feature film starring Christian Slater, Wes Bentley, and Emmanuelle Vaugier.A widowed husband spends seven years plotting revenge for his wife’s murder in Dolan’s Cadillac. A school teacher discovers her students are not what they seem in Suffer the Little Children. In Crouch End, a woman fears that supernatural events may have led to her husband’s disappearance. And in Rainy Season, a young couple is forced into the ultimate battle of Man vs. Nature when torrential rain turns deadly.

Rob Lowe, Whoopi Goldberg, Tim Curry, and Yeardley Smith lend their voices to this haunting collection of classic stories that no Stephen King fan should be without

Review- My favorite story from this collection was Rainy Season, partly for the story itself but most of all because of the actress doing the audio adaptation, Yeardley Smith(the voice of Lisa Simpson). Somehow her high-pitched, child-like voice added even more terror to the story of the plague of toads devouring a young couple who just happened to be in Willow, Maine on the wrong day.  My least favorite story was Dolan’s Cadillac. I thought it was too long and a bit slow and I could care less how big dirt moving machines  work or how long it takes to cut a grave for a Cadillac in the hard desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.   The two other stories, Crouch End and Suffer the Little Children were a pleasure to listen to. If you’re a fan of Stephen King give this collection a try and see what you think.