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Before the Fall by Juliet West
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

An exquisite, detailed and heartbreaking World War I novel set in London’s East End and based on a true story. Hannah’s husband is away fighting, leaving her with two children and forced to live with her sister whilst working in a cafe to support them. There she meets Daniel, exempted from war service by his crucial dockyard job and their initial attraction turns to forbidden love. Written in first person from both Hannah’s and Daniel’s perspective (which gets a little confusing at times) this is far from ‘just’ a romance as war time life and London is really brought to life.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Inspired by a true story, this highly accomplished debut is set in the East End of London during the First World War. Hannah Loxwood’s husband is away fighting, and to make ends meet, Hannah and her children move in with her sister and brother-in-law, and she finds work at a local café. There she meets the solitary, widowed Daniel Blake, a bookish man and a sensitive idealist exempt from active service due to his work as a ship-repairer. The two develop a tentative friendship, one that quickly deepens into love when terrible events occur. Poignant, atmospheric, carefully researched, this book marks the writer as one to watch.
~ The Good Book Guide

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Synopsis

Before the Fall by Juliet West

A compelling, moving tale of a love affair, set in the East End during World War 1 and inspired by an unforgettable true story A great war. A powerful love. An impossible choice. I think the war is everywhere: in the rain, in the river, in the grey air that we breathe. It is a current that runs through all of us. You can't escape the current; either you swim with it, or you go under. 1916. Across the channel, the Great War rages; in London's East End, with her husband away fighting, Hannah Loxwood struggles to hold everything together. But when Hannah takes a job in a cafe, she discovers a glimpse of freedom away from her needy young children, her spiteful sister and desperately ill father. While the conflict drags on, Hannah battles with the overwhelming burden of 'duty'. She has sacrificed so much for a husband who left her behind, a husband who may never come home. Then, when she meets Daniel - thoughtful, intelligent, quietly captivating - Hannah finds herself faced with the most dangerous of temptations ...As the war grips tighter and bombs fall down upon the streets, the stakes for the couple grow ever higher. Soon Hannah and Daniel will realise just how precarious their happiness is, as their destiny rushes towards them ...Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a twist that will leave you breathless, Before The Fall, inspired by a true story, hurls you into a London torn apart by the First World War and paints a vivid and haunting portrait of one woman's struggle.

Reviews

Before the Fall is as poignant as it is powerful. With tremendous sensitivity and insight, Juliet 'West explores the consequences of private lives engulfed by the public catastrophe of war. At the same time, nothing diminishes the force of her storytelling. Her characters - including London's East End itself - are unforgettable.' -- Alison MacLeod, author of the Booker Longlisted: Unexploded

'I can't tell you how much I enjoyed Before The Fall. Juliet West has created some wonderfully believable characters and her descriptions of London are breath-taking! I have not read a book that brings the sense of time and place to life as well as this one does. I was living and breathing the war years in London. But it's the love story at the centre of the book that will stay with me ... This is a wonderful book, intelligent, wise, and full of passion and courage. I absolutely loved it and I can't praise it highly enough. I would recommend Before The Fall to anyone who is looking for a superb read, a page-turning drama that's exactly of its time, and a story and characters that will stay in the mind long after the book is finished.' -- Louise Douglas, Bestselling author

'This is a wonderful novel, beautifully evocative of the time and place and absolutely heartbreaking in very many ways, I was enthralled throughout ... As a picture of war torn Britain this is extraordinarily fascinating. The background and the claustrophobic atmosphere of life in general is brilliantly captured. Most of all the sense of what life was like for women then - especially those whose husbands were in the trenches - is compelling and emotional. An extremely addictive, passionate and poignant read, based on a true story.' -- lizlovesbooks blog

'Before the Fall is an astonishing literary achievement. Set during World War I, Juliet West's powerful and crisp prose creates an atmosphere of impending doom and lays bare the hardships of life in London's East End. West deftly captures the voices of the working poor who are caught in webs of duty to country, family, friends, and work. The author understands the complexities of war at the home front, and as bombs fall on London, she pulls us deeper and deeper into this mesmerizing story of desire, love, loss, and courage.' -- Ann Weisgarber, Orange Prize longlisted and Orange New Writers Award shortlisted author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

'Before the Fall is a stunning debut - a breathtaking portrayal of life and love in all its complexity. Juliet West's powerful yet subtle prose is utterly riveting. This is a story which haunted me long after I had read the final, heartbreaking pages.' -- Suzannah Dunn, author of The Confession of Katherine Howard

About the Author

Juliet West worked as a journalist before taking an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University, where she won the Kate Betts' Memorial Prize. Before The Fall, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the Myriad Editions novel writing competition in 2012. Juliet also writes short stories and poetry, and won the H E Bates short story prize in 2009. She lives in West Sussex with her husband and three children.

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Book Info

Publication date

28th August 2014

Author

Juliet West

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Author's Website

www.julietwest.com/
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Publisher

Pan Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Format

Paperback
256 pages
Interest Age: From 18

Categories

Romantic Fiction
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Historical romance
Sagas

ISBN

9781447259077

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