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Before the Fall Paperback – 28 Aug 2014
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Poignant . . . arresting. (Daily Mail)
As poignant as it is powerful. (Alison MacLeod, author of the Booker Longlisted: Unexploded)
Evocative and powerful. (Good Housekeeping)
This sad, beautiful love story is based on real events. (Woman)
Breathtaking . . . intelligent, wise, and full of passion and courage . . . a superb read. (Louise Douglas, Bestselling author of The Secrets Between Us)
Satisfyingly atmospheric. (Independent on Sunday)
An incredible debut novel . . . superbly drawn. (Historical Novels Review)
An astonishing literary achievement . . . mesmerizing. (Ann Weisgarber, Orange Prize longlisted and Orange New Writers Award shortlisted author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree)
A stunning debut - a breathtaking portrayal of life and love in all its complexity . . . heartbreaking. (Suzannah Dunn, author of The Confession of Katherine Howard)
A wonderful novel, beautifully evocative . . . passionate and poignant. (lizlovesbooks blog)
A compelling, moving tale of a love affair, set in the East End during World War 1 and inspired by an unforgettable true storySee all Product description
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Before the Fall is none of that, not even close. Set in London’s docklands during the First World War it is the last place you’d want to find Mr Tall Dark and Handsome. What we do have is a real world populated by real people. The story is based on true events from the time. Our hero is not a hero he’s a welder. The heroine is mother of two whose husband is at war. Their romance should never have been, but it was and it tore families apart.
This a work of craftsmanship. A first novel to be proud of. Beautifully written and well told. So much so it was the only romance novel I have wanted to sit and read. It has been well researched not just fragments from postcards joined hastily together. There are copies of police statements, witness accounts and letters from the family all of which build upon the reality of a truly desperate love.
I will not speak of the plot as it is so tight any clues would just spoil it. Juliet West wastes no words, there are no needless side stories just the plain facts all woven together in a rich tapestry of old London. This is not a war story, it is about those left behind: the mothers, the children, the unfit and few white feathers. To read this novel is to see how romance should be coloured in anything else is just shades of grey.
A truly brilliant book and a well-deserved 5 stars.
Before The Fall has been written with so much care, respect and insight for its central characters and their story. Their feelings have been captured so honestly and sincerely that I found myself nodding along at their hindsight, clasping my hand to my heart in their despair and willing them on endlessly in hope. It’s a book that does everything it should do for a reader.
An exceptional debut novel, as beautiful as it is bleak, and a story that has been given the storyteller it deserves.
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