Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Everyone Brave is ForgivenDoes everyone view the events of World War II the same way? Imagine living in London during 1939, before the Americans entered the War. Naturally, at first everyone believes it will be a short series of battles with the Brits leading the way. Everyone wants to do their part, with many able-bodied men immediately enlisting. The wealthy, or those from the “better” families”, became officers. A few chose to stay working in the city to maintain the continuity of life. The children were evacuated to the country. Some chose to remain. What was life like in Londen then?

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a story for those who search for the genuine experiences of the past. The strong voices of each character discloses the true life of the time period. Whether from Mary North being a single and pretty new teacher and finding her place in the world, or Hilda as Mary’s best friend, Tom is her boss and fiancé, Allistar going off to fight, or Zachary as the black and poor. Each voice explains living through a turbulent time of hardship.

Chris Cleave loosely based this novel on his grandparents. This London resident has won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2006, been on the shortlist for the 2006 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, also on the shortlist for the Costa Award and having his books on the New York Times Bestsellers’ List. He is the author of Incendiary, Little Bee, and Gold.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is enthralling. This particular war story focuses mostly on the people not fighting the enemy, but attempting to survive everyday life. Unpredictably, the novel focuses on class differences, wealth, charity, race, friendship, courage, forgiveness and loyalty.

The writing is beautiful, pulling the reader closer into the characters as each paged is turned. The beginning is slow in the character development, but being patient through the pages allows the reader a marvelous experience in opening the time capsule of the past. While the events are often ugly, the story displays the good and bad of their daily life.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is recommended for educated historical fiction readers seeming to lean a little to female readers. Some people are intimidated by the vocabulary and sentence length, which is quickly overlooked once connected with the story.

A story of bravery, forgiveness, and idealism all describe the beautiful tale of Everyone Brave is Forgiven.