My review below was featured as part of the lovereading.com’s feature on the brilliant Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans. Find the whole caboodle here: http://www.lovereading.co.uk/book/14371/Crooked-Heart-by-Lissa-Evans.html
World War II, the Blitz and the human dramas surrounding it do, and have always, provided perfect fodder for authors. But has this well-trodden path seen one too many interpretations? If the wit and uplifting spirit of Lissa Evans’ new novel is anything to go by, not one bit.
Longlisted for the Baileys Prize for Fiction this year, in ‘Crooked Heart’ Evans provides a refreshing perspective on the traumas of war on the Homefront through the unlikely, amusing and thoroughly heart-warming pairing of debtridden widow Vera ‘Vee’ Sedge and evacuee Noel Bostock; whose mysterious upbringing and book smarts Vee faces with incredulity. Stumbling around the bomb-ridden capital, the two encounter a variety of quirky, achingly British characters whose stories truly bring this period to life.
Careful not to forget the very pertinent hardships of those now living under bombardment, Evans’ remembrance and inclusion of the country’s suffragettes provided a refreshing angle that leaves the reader hankering for more. From Noel’s indomitable godmother to the flirty factory girls and the painfully flawed Vera, women really are represented as forming the backbone of the nation in this frank, bittersweet novel.
With the sweetness and subtle humour of this tale chugging along until the very end, the lack of any ‘big reveal’ or hard-hitting Blitz-extravaganza may disappoint some. For me this was an honest, touching and terribly funny book, all the more poignant for its fun and its foibles. Unpretentious historical fiction at its best.
I rarely let book prize-hype sway my reading but so enjoyed Evans’ entertaining new novel. Which book was the highlight of the 2015 prizes for you?