Tag Archives: Lissa Evans

Crooked Heart

Crooked Heartby Lissa Evans

Lissa Evan’s openly admits that she has a deep fascination for the lives of ordinary people during the 1939-45 war. There seems to be a growing interest generally in this side of those dramatic and turbulent years. Wars are not always fought exclusively on the battlefields, and the lives of those left at home are becoming of increasing interest. I have never been a fan of conventional war stories but do enjoy books that take a look at life on the home front.

Lissa will be recognised by many as the writer of “Their Finest Hour-and-a-Half” (since made into the film of almost the same name). Where “Finest” focused on the struggling British film industry, Careless Heart takes an often humorous but always enlightening look at evacuees, the black market and the Blitz. 

At the outbreak of the war, Noah Bostock is living with his elderly godmother on the fringes of Hamstead Heath. Life is simple and Noah is happy. But very soon events turn his life upside down and he finds himself evacuated to St Albans. An on cue, enter Vera Sledge, thirty-six-year-old widow, drowning in debts and struggling to care for her mother. Vera is unscrupulous about how she makes the money she needs and sees the rather sickly looking Noah as just another opportunity.

Vera and Noah and as different as chalk and cheese, but their needs soon begin to bridge the gap. Noah has the cool head and ability to plan the vera lacks, making them a perfect team. Together they cook up a scheme to make money quickly. But there are some things that even Vera will not stoop to, and when they come across those who will, things begin to get dangerous.

Careless Heart opens a window on the seedier side of wartime Britain, but with humour and compassion. Lissa’s research into home front activities of the period makes this book not only entertaining but informative. I thoroughly enjoyed Noah and Vera’s story and was left wanting to know more about this miss-matched pair. 

 

 

Their Finest Hour and a Half

their finest hour and a halfby Lissa Evans

Set mainly in London during the Blitz, Their Finest Hour and a Half is a witty and heart-warming story about life on the home-front. It has a wonderful cast of characters, each dealing with the challenges of the war in different ways.

For some, like actor Ambrose Hilliard, times are tough as he tries to adapt to the changes in the film industry. For others, like advertising copywriter Catrin Cole and seamstress Edith Beadmore, the conflict opens new doors with unexpected opportunities. 

I found the book utterly compelling. Lissa Evans manages to combine a gentle wit with some touching and emotional moments. Her characters are believable and consistent throughout.

The war itself plays a large part in the plot, the deprivations and difficulties faced by Londoners during this period is brought vividly to life by Lissa Evans’ wonderfully crafted pros. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the style, plot and the historical realism of this book.