Wednesday 20 September 2017

The Faithful by Juliet West @JulietWest14 @MantleBooks @panmacmillan #TheFaithful

As Britain is pulled towards war, the secrets within two families threaten to tear them apart, in the new novel from Juliet West, The Faithful . . .
July 1935. In the village of Aldwick on the Sussex coast, sixteen-year-old Hazel faces a long, dull summer with just her self-centred mother Francine for company. But then Francine decamps to London with her lover Charles, Oswald Mosley's blackshirts arrive in Aldwick, and Hazel's summer suddenly becomes more interesting. She finds herself befriended by two very different people: Lucia, an upper-class blackshirt, passionate about the cause; and Tom, a young working-class boy, increasingly scornful of Mosley's rhetoric. In the end, though, it is Tom who wins Hazel's heart - and Hazel who breaks his.
Autumn 1936. Now living in London, Hazel has grown up fast over the past year. But an encounter with Tom sends her into freefall. He must never know why she cut off all contact last summer, betraying the promises they’d made. Yet Hazel isn't the only one with secrets. Nor is she the only one with reason to keep the two of them apart . . .
From the beaches of Sussex to the battlefields of civil war Spain, The Faithful is a rich and gripping tale of love, deception and desire.

The Faithful by Juliet West was published by Mantle / Pan Macmillan on 15 June 2017 and is the author's second novel.  I read and reviewed her first book, Before The Fall here on Random Things in May 2014.

Juliet West's first novel, Before The Fall is one of my favourite war-time novels, I loved it when I read it, I've recommended it to so many people and I've been looking forward to her next book for so long.

Beginning in the summer of 1935, The Faithful begins in Aldwick, Sussex as Oswald Mosley's blackshirt followers begin to gather for their annual camp. Tom and his family travel from London, he's doubtful about Mosley's beliefs but his mother is an avid believer and Tom is basically, a good kid who loves his parents and doesn't want to cause a scene.

Hazel lives in Aldwick and a long and lonely summer is ahead of her, until that is, she attends one of the blackshirt meetings and meets Tom, and is befriended by Lucia, one of the most faithful and avid followers of Mosley.

The British people haven't yet got over the Great War and many believe that Mosely's teachings are right for the country. Nobody wants another war. Nobody wants so much death and destruction again. However, not everyone believes in Mosely's methods and there's plenty of oppostion from the Reds who want to rid Britain of the fascists.

The Faithful is, at its heart, a love story. It's at times heart-breaking yet also heart warming. The characters are wonderfully created, strong and totally and utterly believable.

Juliet West's writing is flawless, her plotting and pace is perfectly composed. This is a thought-provoking and emotional look at both social history and family relationships. Loss, deceit, sorrow and enduring love are all central themes in this incredibly told story.

The Faithful is beautifully written, it's a story made up of so many layers yet is so cleverly and neatly woven together, the reader becomes totally engrossed in the lives of the characters. I felt as though these people were my own friends, and family. Their battles were my battles, I felt their sorrow and I shared their joy.

A clever, moving, page turner. Highly recommended from me.

Juliet West worked as a journalist before taking an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University, where she won the Kate Betts' Memorial Prize.
Before The Fall, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the Myriad Editions novel writing competition in 2012.
Juliet also writes short stories and poetry, and won the HE Bates short story prize in 2009.
The Faithful is her second novel.
She lives in West Sussex with her husband and three children.

Discover more at
Follow her on Twitter @JulietWest14

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