everyone brave is forgiven chris cleave

Everyone Brave is Forgiven: A Somewhat Enjoyable Literary Tale

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a WWII tale set in London. It follows several young adults as they try to navigate their adulthood while in the midst of a war. Overall, I found their stories were mildly interesting at best but the writing exceptional.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven: A Somewhat Enjoyable Literary TaleEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
Narrator: Luke Thompson
Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
Format: Audiobook
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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 blueblood 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.

bomb-ravaged London, race relations, and débutantes in the midst of war 

What I liked: 

  • Like I already mentioned, the writing was beautiful. The book really teetered on literary fiction, and I felt as though the reader’s journey with this story was as much about the writing as it was the plot.
  • That it took place in London! I have read a lot of WWII novels, but not yet one that took place in the capital city of England. I hadn’t realized they got hit so hard by the war.
  • I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was fantastic! I would definitely recommend the audiobook if this is a book that interests you.

 What I didn’t like:

  • I didn’t feel connected the characters in this one. Everything that happened to them just kind of seemed blah to me? Before you call me an evil witch, there were definitely some things that tugged on my heartstrings.
  • Perhaps because of the tinge of literary fiction this book has, I found its plot kind of slow-paced and with very little build up (I’m not a literary fiction fan). Things just kept chugging along, but I didn’t feel a real pull to find out what was going to happen to the characters in the end.


If you like literary fiction, historical fiction, and WWII books, then this book DEFINITELY is for you. If you weren’t a huge fan of Little Bee by Chris Cleave, you probably won’t be a big fan of this one either.

Have you read this one? What’s your favorite WWII novel? 

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    1. Yes, I agree about books set in London – I love it! I think it was slow for me due to the literary aspect. Someone who appreciates more literary writing wouldn’t have minded at all (:

  1. Looks like it has a lot to recommend it. I’m not sure I’d go for the literary style and slowness but the idea of London in WWII definitely has me interested.