The new Chris Cleave novel is coming in April 2016 in the UK, Ireland, Australia & NZ, and May 2016 in the US and Canada. (Pre-order here.)
War lays siege to our cities. Only love encircles our heart.
EUROPE, 1939. When London’s children are evacuated from the hell of the Blitz, 18-year-old Mary North stays behind to teach the students who are too disabled, too disturbed or too racially different to find homes in the conservative countryside. The vivacious Mary defies her aristocratic family, refuses her country’s prejudices, and finds comfort in the arms of Tom Shaw, an honourable, if fainthearted, civil servant. This, she is convinced, is a war England can only win if united. But as the city lurches into chaos, Mary’s principles erode, and her faithfulness to Tom is tested by her growing attraction to his closest friend, the steady Alistair Heath. She must choose which territories of her heart to surrender if she is ever to survive the war.
When Alistair is sent to defend the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta, the Axis forces besiege the little rock with a venom never before seen in modern conflict. Wounded, sick and desperate, only the spark of hope in Mary’s letters keeps Alistair alive. But Tom is his friend, and Alistair is tortured by guilt. When a
dubious lifeline might offer a chance to go home, Alistair must decide which is braver: to die in perfect futility, or to live as an absolute coward.
With tenderness, grace and breathtaking emotional insight, New York Times #1 bestselling author Chris Cleave threads a perfect love story through the vast sweep of a global war. Humorous and heartbreaking, intimate and colossal, this dazzling novel is a victory for the human heart, forcing us to question – and daring us to appreciate – how we live now.