Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans
Review Date: 10 December 2015
Author: Lisa Evans
Release Date: (PB) 31 December 2015
Publishers: Black Swan
ISBN –10: 0552774782
ISBN – 13: 978-0552774789
Available in Hardback, Paperback, Kindle and audio
The Last Word Review
The perfect book to read over Christmas. It’s wonderful, it’s funny, and it’s dark. You will laugh and cry a book to savour
I have to be truly honest here and say that I really enjoyed Crooked Heart without doubt one of THE books of 2015. I am so very grateful to be given the opportunity by Alison Barrow at Transworld Books for a review copy ahead of the paperback launch on 31st December. The hardback edition is still available and I urge you to rush out and get hold of this beautiful book before Christmas sets in and then over the holidays curl up and I know you will fall completely for Crooked Heart like I and many before me have. It will be one of those books that you will be more than happy to revisit in time and still hold dear as if it was the first time.
Having never read one of Lissa Evan’s previous books and no real excuse from my part just put this down to having too many books to read and review I was just so pleased that finally I have had the chance.
Crooked Heart is set in London during the first few years of World War II and can be described as gritty and down-to-earth. But set among the story is a comedy that shines through and Evans really has caught the moment in history just right.
Here we find Noel Bostock a ten-year-old boy who has been brought up since the age of four by his godmother Mattie, now the story of Mattie is that she was a suffragette so you can imagine what a ten- year-old boy has been taught. The entire storyline is so beautifully put together and clever as we see the story through the eyes of the 10 year-old. There is plenty of comedy throughout and the story races along.
After the death of his godmother Noel is evacuated via his aunt and uncle to live in St Albans, and there his new home is with Vee a widow and her 19-year-old son Donald who is a somewhat lazy. Vee spends her day writing letters to the Prime Minister Winston Churchill which are a delight to read and somewhat whimsical. Vee has little money to live and is in constant debt and they are basically living hand to mouth at the best of times. Now Vee has set her sights on Noel as a source of income and so her latest scam is set in motion. So while the blitz is going on around them they set about their new source of income with no regard for the law.
The scenes of London during the war years and especially the blitz are recreated by Evans and you can feel the tension rise from the pages during the raids as people try to cope the death and destruction all around as the bombs rained down on Vee and Noel.
I totally enjoyed both the lead characters of Vee and Noel two very different people who just happen to find something in common that only the war years could have brought if that is the right thing to say here. Donald I found seemed a story all by himself and in the end some may say he got his just deserts.
Earlier the story Evans even managed to bring dementia into the storyline with Mattie and there was some touching moments before she succumbed to the terrible disease. A Real catastrophe for Noel.
I thoroughly enjoyed Crooked Heart just because it has the right amount of humour, even dark humour set among backdrop of London during the blitz. Evans has the balance just right. Not too dark and not too sentimental just a sheer joy to read and this reviewer was saddened at the close of the story. Anyone who loves historical fiction will totally enjoy Crooked Heart.
Do not let this one pass you by.
Meet the Author
Lissa Evans grew up in the West Midlands. She comes from a family of voracious readers and spent most of her adolescence in the local library, thus becoming well-read if not wildly popular.
After studying medicine at Newcastle University, she worked as a junior doctor for four years, before deciding to switch to a career in which she wasn’t terrified the entire time; five years producing and script editing radio comedy followed, and then a further five years producing and directing for television, where her programmes included ‘Room 101’ and ‘Father Ted’. Eventually, after a decade of running a red pencil through other people’s work, Lissa began to write something of her own.
Her first novel, ‘Spencer’s List’ was published in 2002, and since then she has written three other novels for adults, and two for children. She lives in London with her husband and two daughters. She still reads voraciously. Crooked Heart is Lissa Evans fourth book and the paperback will be released on 31 December 2015.