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Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015.

A touching tale of an educated, free thinking lad and his relationship with an unscrupulous family upon whom he is billeted during the Blitz. This is a war story with a difference. The opening chapter, pre-war, is truly wonderful. But our protagonist, Noel, must grow up and move on. How he aids and abets the family he is evacuated to is surprising, really nicely done. There are a few too many unanswered questions but that aside this is a lovely read.

If you like Lissa Evans you might also like to read books by Maggie O’Farrell, Meera Syal and Alan Bennett.

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Synopsis

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015.

When Noel Bostock - aged ten, no family - is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he ends up living in St Albans with Vera Sedge - thirty-six and drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she's unscrupulous about how she gets it. Noel's mourning his godmother, Mattie, a former suffragette. Brought up to share her disdain for authority and eclectic approach to education, he has little in common with other children and even less with Vee, who hurtles impulsively from one self-made crisis to the next. The war's thrown up new opportunities for making money but what Vee needs (and what she's never had) is a cool head and the ability to make a plan. On her own, she's a disaster. With Noel, she's a team. Together they cook up an idea. Criss-crossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn't actually safe at all.


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Reviews

'The best novel I have read in the last five years... I couldn't love it more, India Knight Evans, who wrote the equally winning Their Finest Hour and a Half, also set during the war, is carving out a distinctive niche for herself... credible, touching, and funny.'

-Nick Hornby

'As sparky and funny as Cold Comfort Farm and as charming and touching as The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, but then every now and again comes the vertiginous feeling of peering into something unutterably, dangerously sad. Everybody, and I mean everybody, is getting this for Christmas.'

-Louisa Young

'Quite wonderful - beautifully written, so authentic too, and evocative of the wartime spirit, moving, funny - just perfect. I don't usually like novels about the war - the true stories are so good - but this one - and Evelyn Waugh - are way up in a class of their own - superb.'

-Juliet Gardiner

About the Author

Lissa Evans

Lissa Evans has written books for both adults and children, including Their Finest Hour and a Half, longlisted for the Orange Prize, Small Change for Stuart, shortlisted for many awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Costa Book Awards and Crooked Heart, longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999

Author

Lissa Evans

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Author's Website

lissaevans.com/
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Publisher

Format

Hardback

Categories

Historical Fiction
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ISBN

9780385614337

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