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Crooked heart / Lissa Evans.

By: Evans, Lissa [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Doubleday, 2014Description: 282 pages ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780385614337.Subject(s): Foster parents -- England -- Fiction | World War, 1939-1945 -- England -- London -- Fiction | World War, 1939-1945 -- Evacuation of civilians -- Great Britain -- Fiction | London (England) -- History -- 1800-1950 -- FictionGenre/Form: Historical fiction.DDC classification: 823.92
Contents:
When Noel Bostock - aged ten, no family - is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he ends up living in St Albans with Vera Sedge - thirty-six and laden with debts and dependents. She's always desperate for money, and the war has thrown up new opportunities for getting it, but what she needs (and what she's always lacked) is a cool head and the ability to make careful plans. On her own, she's a disaster. With Noel, she's a team. Together, as fake Widow and Orphan, they shake a charity tin from door to door, criss-crossing the bombed suburbs of London. Vee starts to make a profit and Noel gradually begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. And although Noel's been moved to safety, he isn't actually safe at all.
Summary: When Noel Bostock - aged ten, no family - is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he ends up living in St Albans with Vera Sedge - thirty-six and laden with debts and dependents. Noel is grieving for his godmother, Mattie, a former suffragette who brought him up to share her disdain for authority and her rich and eclectic approach to education. He has little in common with other children of his age; he has nothing at all in common with Vee, who rattles from one self-made crisis to the next, impulsive and rash. She's always desperate for money, and the war has thrown up new opportunities for getting it, but what she needs (and what she's always lacked) is a cool head and the ability to make careful plans. On her own, she's a disaster. With Noel, she's a team. Together, as fake Widow and Orphan, they shake a charity tin from door to door, criss-crossing the bombed suburbs of London. Vee starts to make a profit and Noel gradually begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. And although Noel's been moved to safety, he isn't actually safe at all.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, 2015

When Noel Bostock âe" aged ten, no family - is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he ends up living in St Albans with Vera Sedge - thirty-six and drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, sheâe(tm)s unscrupulous about how she gets it.

Noelâe(tm)s mourning his godmother, Mattie, a former suffragette. Brought up to share her disdain for authority and eclectic approach to education, he has little in common with other children and even less with Vee, who hurtles impulsively from one self-made crisis to the next. The warâe(tm)s thrown up new opportunities for making money but what Vee needs (and what sheâe(tm)s never had) is a cool head and the ability to make a plan.

On her own, sheâe(tm)s a disaster. With Noel, sheâe(tm)s a team.

Together they cook up an idea. Criss-crossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life.

But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isnâe(tm)t actually safe at allâe¦

When Noel Bostock - aged ten, no family - is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he ends up living in St Albans with Vera Sedge - thirty-six and laden with debts and dependents. She's always desperate for money, and the war has thrown up new opportunities for getting it, but what she needs (and what she's always lacked) is a cool head and the ability to make careful plans. On her own, she's a disaster. With Noel, she's a team. Together, as fake Widow and Orphan, they shake a charity tin from door to door, criss-crossing the bombed suburbs of London. Vee starts to make a profit and Noel gradually begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. And although Noel's been moved to safety, he isn't actually safe at all.

When Noel Bostock - aged ten, no family - is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he ends up living in St Albans with Vera Sedge - thirty-six and laden with debts and dependents. Noel is grieving for his godmother, Mattie, a former suffragette who brought him up to share her disdain for authority and her rich and eclectic approach to education. He has little in common with other children of his age; he has nothing at all in common with Vee, who rattles from one self-made crisis to the next, impulsive and rash. She's always desperate for money, and the war has thrown up new opportunities for getting it, but what she needs (and what she's always lacked) is a cool head and the ability to make careful plans. On her own, she's a disaster. With Noel, she's a team. Together, as fake Widow and Orphan, they shake a charity tin from door to door, criss-crossing the bombed suburbs of London. Vee starts to make a profit and Noel gradually begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. And although Noel's been moved to safety, he isn't actually safe at all.

Women's Prize for Fiction 2015 - Longlist (Formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction)

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

In her latest novel Evans (Their Finest Hour and a Half; Small Change for Stuart) explores the Blitz during World War II from two utterly inventive perspectives-that of a sharp-minded ten-year-old orphan evacuee and the unscrupulous and desperate 36-year-old suburban widow who billets him in exchange for his ration book and a small monthly sum. Noel Bostock had been living in London with his eccentric, aging godmother, Mattie. An original suffragette, Mattie provided Noel with an odd but thorough education and lots of love. Vee, Noel's nominal caretaker, shows no such warmth. She's uneducated, broke, and out to get her due. When Noel cottons to her scheme to pocket donations to fictitious benevolent funds (Dunkirk Widows and Orphans is particularly lucrative), he eggs her on. Though still a child, he's bitter, sick of the war, and a willing partner in crime. Vee's layabout son, Donald, has his own scam as a stand-in for military draft physicals (his heart murmur disqualifies him for service). But when Noel encounters a scoundrel whose thievery is more hurtful and personal than his foster family's morally dubious activities, he vows revenge, and Vee realizes she actually has tender feelings for her unusual charge. VERDICT A charming, slanted counterpoint to Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See. [See Prepub Alert, 12/15/14.]-Christine Perkins, Whatcom Cty. Lib. Syst., Bellingham, WA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

British author Evans makes her American debut in this Baileys Women's Prize-longlisted dark comedy with heart, set in London during World War II. After the death of his beloved godmother Mattie, a former suffragette whose keen intellect had begun to buckle under dementia just as the Blitz commenced, 10-year-old Noel Bostock is evacuated to a suburb of London. He is placed with Vera Sedge, a middle-aged widow who has designs on using Noel, who limps, to elicit sympathy for her small-time con game, exploiting ordinary people's generosity during wartime for her own ends. Vera's grown son, Donald, is running his own racket, helping enlisted men fail their medical exams. Noel's precociousness, combined with the distrust of authority instilled in him by Mattie, makes him a difficult child for many adults to like, and though Vera has enough of her own troubles, somehow the two of them-awkwardly but endearingly-find a connection. Evans, who has published several children's books, is especially adept at capturing Noel's appealing blend of sophisticated bravado and naive fragility-all without lapsing into sentimentality. Most valuable, though, is the tragicomic portrayal of the petty betrayals and profound losses that characterized ordinary people's everyday wartime experiences. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Book Review

A clever orphan and his scam-artist guardianan odd couple in wartime Londonexplore the space between legally wrong and morally right. Engaging and comic, Evans' U.S. debut takes a different slant on Britain during World War II, focusing less on the heroism, more on the seedy underbelly where frauds and crimes flourished while the nation was preoccupied with beating Hitler. Vera Sedge is one such petty trickster, claiming to be collecting for war charities, then pocketing her gains. But she's not very good at it until an unpredictably gifted evacuee, Noel Bostock, joins the household and reorganizes her methods. Ten-year-old Noel, a loner with a leg damaged by polio, is mourning the death of his eccentric godmother, Mattie, whose quirky perspective shaped his thinking. Unlikely allies, Noel and Vera are the most prominent figures in a crowd of homefront characters that includes Vera's even dodgier son, Donald, some surprising old ladies, and the assorted ranks of those not suitable to join the fighting forces. Aided by spot-on dialogue and low-key charm, Evans does a noticeably good job of spanning a wide range of emotional notes, from genuine sadness to absurd humor: Vera, for example, is injured during a bombing raid not by the bombs themselves but by an ambulance door slamming her in the face. While the privations and terrors of life during a time of rationing and sudden death are poignantly registered, there's also a funny side, even to swindlers. And while everyone is trying to keep calm and carry on, Noel and Vera, assisted by strokes of fortune and a little arm-twisting, eventually succeed in this, too. A dark, cherishable, very English comedy about not-so-funny times and events. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.