Their Finest by Lissa Evans

Lissa Evans‘s Their Finest is a funny and engaging look at the world of World War II London.

A bit about the book:

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. Young copy writer Catrin Cole is drafted into the Ministry of Information to help “write women” into propaganda films—something that the men aren’t very good at.

She is quickly seconded to the Ministry’s latest endeavor: a heart-warming tale of bravery and rescue at 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 must make up the numbers: Ambrose Hilliard, third most popular British film-star of 1924; Edith Beadmore, Madame Tussauds wardrobe assistant turned costumier; and Arthur Frith, whose peacetime job as a catering manager has not really prepared him for his sudden, unexpected elevation to Special Military Advisor.

Now in a serious world, 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….

Evans opens a door into the film industry (at least the one back in the 1940s) with her portrayals of actors and those behind the scenes. Her descriptions are full of detail not only of movie making, but also of life in a war-torn city. The chaos of war in London is mirrored on the movie set.

Evans’s portrayal of the main characters is insightful and appealing. I especially like Ambrose Hilliard who is clueless that time has passed him by – he still thinks he can be a leading man even though he is older and not what the studios are looking for. Catrin is a woman finding her way in a new society where women are gaining more importance and influence due to the men serving in the armed forces. Her transformation is wonderful to see.

The plot is light. It has a few twists that keeps the reader interested. A good, quick read.

Their Finest Book Cover Their Finest
Lissa Evans
Fiction
Harper Perennial
February 14, 2017
464

From the author of the acclaimed Crooked Heart comes another “smart, funny, ingenious, revealing tale of London life during the Second World War” (The Independent)—longlisted for the Orange Prize upon its original publication in England.

“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)

About the author

Jeff Grim

Jeff Grim has been a reader all of his life. He has had a particular interest in military history, any war at any time. His fascination with military history has brought him to an interest in historical fiction where the history comes alive with fictitious heroes and villains. Recently, Jeff has become interested in historical mysteries set in various time periods.

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