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Their Finest Hour And A Half Paperback – 1 Jan 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (1 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552774715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552774710
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[Lissa Evans] displays a fine eye for detail and for the absurdities involved in filming. She also brilliantly evokes the disruption and dangers of wartime London. This funny, heart-warming and beautifully crafted novel is a must-read" (Daily Mail)

"Beautifully written, minutely observed and researched, evocative and very funny tale" (Michele Hanson Guardian)

"Comic, poignant and altogether delightful, raised spirits are guaranteed" (Easy Living)

"This is a comic novel, but far warmer in tone and broader in scope than that label would suggest...Gloriously observed...Hilliard is a wonderful creation - and Evans's recreated propaganda scripts are a total joy. Delicious" (The Times)

"Pitch-perfect in tone and populated by some unforgettable characters, Lissa Evans's blackly comic new novel is a delight" (The Gloss Magazine)

Review

This funny, heart-warming and beautifully crafted novel is a must-read. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

By D. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Finest Hour" follows the making, during the early days of the Second World War, of a film about Dunkirk, intended to lift British spirits (and enthuse American ones). This film is based on a story that never happened (or, at least, is greatly exaggerated) and it is done on a shoestring. The description of the film's production is fascinating (and often funny - for example the way in which the writer is kept in his (or her) place).

Lissa Evans brings together the stories of some of the cast and crew and of the development of the film itself against a background of the London blitz. All the characters are portrayed well, especially Ambrose Hilliard, embittered and fading actor, whose grim memories of the previous war surface at times and, and Catrin Cole, who ends up, more or less by accident, helping to write the film.

The book has funny moments, tender moments and sad moments. It creates an entirely believable atmosphere of wartime London, populated by convincing characters who one sympathises with more and more. It is also something of a page turner. The whole things is cleverly structured as a cinema programme, from the "trailers", though "informational shorts", to the "main feature" and finally, "forthcoming attractions". Overall, it is excellent.
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Format: Hardcover
Endearing, engrossing, excellent, this novel is an easy read, with a feeling of real people during the war, which is just happening around them. You live this period, rather like David Fiddimore's Tuesday's War, and you feel for the 3 main characters, the capable modern woman, the lonely spinster and even the egocentric actor, Ambrose. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this novel on so many different levels. The description of film-making. The grim portrayal of wartime conditions-the rationing, bombing, officialdom. The witty dialogue, especially between the three scriptwriters. And a whole cast of memorable characters, from the irascible has-been actor, Ambrose, the cynical writer, Buckley, the assistant director who could make his dog perform by hand-signals, to the the dull, but very likeable Arthur and his bride Edith.
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Format: Hardcover
Lissa Evans does a masterful job of bringing together many voices in order to tell intertwining stories: a lonely seamstress looking for a change, a young writer learning the ropes in the film industry via morale-boosting propaganda, and a fading actor who is the only one sure that he's still in his prime. These are all excellent, engaging characters, with their own foibles, quirks and unique voices.

Baker Films has been commissioned to create a film based on a rescue made at Dunkirk, and though the facts of the story are dubious, it will make for a ripping yarn and a shot in the arm for Blitz-weary Brits (and perhaps it will encourage the still-neutral States to lend a hand). There are three main characters, all well-developed, and numerous others who populate this rich, layered novel. I fell in love with Buckley and even with sweet Arthur Frith, who polishes his spectacles as a nervous habit and isn't quite sure why he's suddenly on a film set.

Their Finest Hour and a Half brings together several of my loves: history, film, humor and skillful writing. Not only are those loves united, but united seamlessly and entertainingly. Shot through with laughter, warmth and a touch of cynicism, this book is a keeper.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this immediately after reading Lissa Evans' other home front novel, Crooked Heart, and enjoyed both immensely. The plot of Their Finest Hour And A Half follows the lives of three central characters in blitz torn London. It is beautifully written and Lissa Evans is clearly very well informed about the home front. I thought Crooked Heart was ever so slightly better than this, but really loved them both. I hope that she will write a third home front novel very much, if she does I won't hesitate in buying it as soon as it is released.
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Format: Paperback
As the Second World War moves from its first period of relative quiet in Britain to the chaos of Dunkirk and the arrival of the blitz, the lives of four ordinary people are turned around.
Catrin finds herself moved from writing advertising copy to working on propaganda films. Wrapped up in her first love affair, she can’t see that her ‘husband’ is indifferent to whether she is in his life or not. But as she starts to gain confidence in her new career, she also gains insight into her own life….
Ambrose was voted the third most popular British film star in 1924. Unfortunately in his head he hasn’t moved on from those heights and his agent is too good-natured to point out the truth. Luckily his agent has a sister who believes in plain speaking.
Edith is a seamstress at Madame Tussaud’s. In her thirties and somewhat insular she has managed to create an ordered and even beautiful bolt-hole for herself until the bombing raids force her out of her comfort zone.
All three of them are thrown together when they become involved in a film charting the ‘heroic’ rescue by twin sisters of soldiers from the Dunkirk beaches. And in the process they encounter shy, awkward, Arthur – a former catering manager who has now been elevated to ‘Special Military Adviser’ on the film – for no better reason than he happens to be in uniform as far as he can see.
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