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Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

Crooked Heart

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

This is a completely charming and very different slice of World War Two fiction. ‘Crooked Heart’ explores the relationship of Vera, and ten year old Noel, who has been evacuated from London. The prologue sets the story beautifully, releasing snippets of information yet encouraging you to feel, to appreciate the heart and soul of Noel. Lissa Evans balances a gentle charm with barbed spikes of wit and reality. Noel and Vera are amazingly resourceful (that’s the polite way of describing it), yet wonderfully odd, and I couldn't help falling in thoughtful love with them. The other characters are as vibrant and fully formed, even those with walk on parts light up the pages. After initially skulking in the distance, World War Two hammers into their lives, thoroughly testing Noel and Vera’s mettle. With fizzes of quirky wry humour holding hands with contemplative emotions, ‘Crooked Heart’ has craftily slipped into my heart, and I declare it a gorgeous warm hug of a read. ~ Liz Robinson

If you like Lissa Evans you might also like to read books by Tom Sharpe, Meera Syal and John O'farrell.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Sandra Robinson - 'A great read which I absolutely loved. Great characters and storylines.'
  • Jillian McFrederick - 'The appeal of the tale lies in the touching relationship between the spunky characters as well as the vivid portrayal of life in London during the war years.'
  • Sarah Harper - 'This is an absolute gem of a book...Acutely observed and full of wry humour...It should be shouted from the rooftops, this is a fantastic book.'
  • Lucy Rock - 'This is an honest, touching and terribly funny book, all the more poignant for its fun and its foibles. Unpretentious historical fiction at its best.'
  • Vicky Sayer - 'Crooked Heart is a wonderful, funny, tale of friendship, love and loss and never shies away from the brutality of war.'
  • Rosie Watch - 'What a wonderful book...I shall definitely be looking out for Their finest hour and a Half.  I feel I have found a new writer.'
  • Pauline Braisher - 'An unusual and heart-warming story of the Second World War.'
  • Shriya Khambhaita - 'A read that will make you smile.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'A funny bitter sweet book. It touches your heart and doesn't let go.'
  • Joy Bosworth - 'This book is really funny, but equally heartrending.  Do try it, you’re in for a treat... I loved it.'
  • Crimeworm - 'A tale of a pair of loveable rogues, unlikely circumstances (children being evacuated from London) throwing them together, this is enjoyable, witty but in no way saccharine sweet.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'ultimately it is just a very good book to be read and enjoyed by anyone.'
  • Janette Skinner - 'Great writing and amazing images. The main characters and loveable and endearing, and a very satisfying ending.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Touching tale but not quite substantial enough to make it compulsive read.'


Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

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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'Dazzling...a miniature masterpiece of serio-comic writing...A dark comedy, moving between drollery, pathos, farce and harrowing moments of tragic insight' The Guardian

'I loved this book - Lissa Evans is a wonderful writer; Vee and Noel are utter originals, and their journey made me laugh and cry' -- JoJo Moyes

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

31st December 2015


Lissa Evans

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Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd


352 pages


Historical Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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