- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Mti edition (February 14, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062414917
- ISBN-13: 978-0062414915
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Their Finest: A Novel Paperback – February 14, 2017
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“The period details evoking London during the Blitz are masterfully done.” (Library Journal)
“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.” (Times (London))
“I try not to say, ‘If there’s one novel you should read this summer..’ but Crooked Heart tempts me to say it.” (Scott Simon, NPR, on Crooked Heart)
“Glorious. I loved every line of this book.” (Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, on Crooked Heart)
“In ‘Crooked Heart,’ Lissa Evans’s absorbing and atmospheric comic novel, another quietly heroic orphan joins the canon….This is a wonderfully old-fashioned Dickensian novel, with satisfying plot twists….Both darkly funny and deeply touching….It’s a crooked journey, straight to the heart.” (New York Times Book Review on Crooked Heart)
“Beautifully written, minutely observed and researched, evocative and very funny tale.” (Guardian (London))
“[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 (London))
From the Back Cover
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE Starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, and Bill Nighy
It is 1940. France has fallen, and only a narrow strip of sea lies between Great Britain and invasion. The war could go either way, and everyone must do their bit. Copywriter Catrin Cole is drafted into the Ministry of Information to help “write women” into propaganda films—something the men aren’t very good at.
She is quickly seconded to the Ministry’s latest endeavor: a heartwarming tale of plucky sisters who help rescue British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. It’s all completely fabricated, of course, but what does that matter when the nation’s morale is at stake? Since call-up has stripped the industry of its brightest and best, it is the callow, the jaded, and the utterly unsuitable who make up the numbers. In a nation under siege, they must all swallow their mutual distaste, ill will, and mistrust to unite for the common good, for King and Country, and—in one case—for better or worse. . . .
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Evans credits Norman Longmate's HOW WE LIVED THEN for sparking her interest in the home front in WW2. But she has clearly absorbed a lot of novels, movies, and magazines of the period, for she has got the language and stock types down pat. It is the same seam that Kate Atkinson mined in LIFE AFTER LIFE, the popular literature of my own childhood. Evans has just about as many plot shifts and rapid gear changes as Atkinson, but she uses them for comedy. This is, after all, the world of make-believe: advertising, propaganda, entertainment, what's the difference? And just about anyone can come along and stick their oar in. So the story of two twin girls who stole their father's boat to assist in the rescue at Dunkirk gets made whether the basic facts are true or not. But they have to add a gallant Tommy boyfriend, the rescue of an abandoned French dog, a drunken uncle who nonetheless manages to save the day despite being mortally wounded -- and, oh yes, at the last-minute insistence of the War Office, a handsome American journalist, wished upon the all-Brit Dunkirk in the hopes of persuading the United States to enter the war.
All this is very funny, actually, and the typed sections of screenplay that pepper the pages look pretty authentic. They are the work of a lonely bachelor named Buckley, his colleague Parfitt who supplies the gags, and, increasingly, a twenty-year old girl named Catrin just up from Wales who gets recruited to do the women's dialogue, otherwise known as "slop." Catrin, who has many more resources than first appear, is the nearest thing to a protagonist the book has, and the story is always interesting when she is on screen. But she is only one of a large number of characters, among them an "aging, enormously conceited, moderately talented" (and tiresome) actor, his hard-pressed agent, an unmarried woman who works for Madame Tussaud's and gets roped in to the wardrobe department, and a mild-mannered male virgin in his thirties who somehow becomes military adviser on the film. Of course the large cast of lovable or at least bizarre comic types is also typical for films of this era, as is the addition of a spoonful or two of pathos and a pinch of tragedy to the general comedy, so Evans is right on the money. But I still prefer the tighter focus of her more recent novel.
Would've thought wartime London, despite daily bombings and innumerable tragedies, large scale and small, could provide such amusement? Catrin, seconded to the Ministry of Information (dis-information?), increasingly realises messages are lost if they don't entertain. Then there is Dunkirk .. how can such disaster entertain? Lissa Evans convinces us that this IS what it was like ... even if, like her film of the Starling sisters' heroic deeds at Dunkirk, it bears little relation to a 'real life' account. There is a deeper truth in their daring, Catrin realises, just as the film reveals and reflects wider truths of the war situation. Evan's characters, dialogue, and recreated adverts and propaganda scripts are convincing, touching, funny and sad in turn..from witty hoot to heart wrench at the sound of a siren.
THEIR FINEST, like CROOKED HEART, is set in London during the Blitz. However, it has a somewhat broader scope, delving into the lives of some half-dozen characters and exploring, in particular, the ways in which women’s personal and professional lives did and didn’t change during the war.
It’s hard to identify a central character, but the person we are first introduced to is Ambrose Hilliard, an aging film star seemingly unable to grasp, despite the dwindling availability of roles, that his most famous days are behind him, that he’s not really competing with leading men like Leslie Howard for roles anymore. When his overworked, underappreciated agent finally lands him a part in a Ministry of Information-sponsored propaganda film about the Battle of Dunkirk, he is at first resistant, but ultimately realizes (thanks to the agent’s frank-talking sister) that this may be his best chance at anything resembling stardom during wartime.
Also brought on board to work on the movie is young copywriter Catrin Cole, who has gained a reputation for appealing to female consumers in her advertisements. Since the film focuses (at least nominally) on the adventures of two sisters who get embroiled in the events at Dunkirk, Catrin is brought on board to help flesh out their characters, not an easy task when the other screenwriters seem incapable of rendering female characters as three-dimensional human beings. Meanwhile, the young wife is struggling with her relationships at home and with her professional ambition, which increasingly seems at odds with her domestic responsibilities.
Added to these primary characters are a costume maker at Madame Tussauds who finds herself unexpectedly drawn into the film’s orbit; a real-life Dunkirk veteran who is brought on board to authenticate what really happened during the battle; and a host of minor characters who help bring the project to life. All of this plays out against the backdrop of nightly air raids, some of which have dire consequences for the characters who live through this continual assault.
THEIR FINEST HOUR may not possess the intimate character exploration, dark humor or plot twists of CROOKED HEART, but it nevertheless offers a fascinating glimpse into one of the lesser-known facets of life and work in World War II. Readers will be eager to see how it all plays out on the silver screen.
Reviewed by Norah Piehl