Loosely based on the lives of his grandparents, Chris Cleave's Everyone Brave is Forgiven explores the impact of Wold War 2 on a small group of people. Mary from a wealthy and privileged background returns from finishing school when war breaks out and signs up for war work. She ends up at school where here unorthodox approach means she doesn't fit in but it is here she meets Tom. Tom has decided not to sign up and working in education means he is restricted in the future from enlisting. Alistair an art restorer does sign up. Through these 3 main protagonists and their friends we see the impact of war - the deprivation, permanent stress from the Blitz and battle front and the shock and grief from losing friends and lovers.
Those who lived through this conflict grabbed life, lived it to the full and snatched brief moments of happiness.
Cleave's description of the suffering of those who served on Malta is heartbreaking. The horror of the blockade, constant bombing and starvation lives on in the memory - you can understand why an entire island was awarded the George Cross.
A challenging and sometimes difficult read this book would be a good one to read for a book group as there is plenty to talk about.
I was given a free copy of this book by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review