2016 Book #43 – Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

51jZGbaKlpL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
Author: Chris Cleave
Date finished: 5/7/16
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Pages in book: 432
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE:I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

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.

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book was about a group of young people and how their lives were affected by World War II. Mary North was born into a life of privilege, but when England declares war on Germany, she decides to sign up with the War Office to be put to good use. They assign her a teaching position, where she befriends a black student. It is through this teaching position that she meets Tom Shaw, who is an administrator for a school district. She falls in love with Tom but then she meets Tom’s friend Alistair while he is home on leave from the military for one night. Alistair stirs feelings in Mary that Tom doesn’t necessarily stir. But Mary is pretty sure that Tom is the one so she ignores her feelings for Alistair.
As we all know, war tends to bring many casualties and these young people’s story is no different. Mary and her friends both face many traumatic events, and Mary even has a sad morphine situation for a while. There were a lot of different story lines merging in this book, including the treatment of colored people in England during this time period and drug addiction and the effects of war. There was a lot going on and all of the story lines were really interesting but it almost felt for me like there was too much going on. I couldn’t really connect with the characters personally and it was just hard for me to get into. The description of Alistair’s experience during war time seemed very real and I thought that was one of the most interesting pieces of the book.

The bottom line: I found this book a little wordy but the story line was interesting. The book just wasn’t really for me, but it would definitely appeal to people who like historical fiction centered around World War II.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page