When Noel Bostock – aged ten, no family – is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he winds up in St Albans with Vera Sedge – thiry-six, drowning in debts. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.
The war’s thrown up all manner of new opportunities but what Vee needs is a cool head and the ability to make a plan. On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.
Together they cook up an idea. 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 isn’t actually safe at all . . .
Longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2015
"Prepare to be charmed, amused and moved ... A complete delight" -- January Book Club Pick Mail on Sunday "Dazzling...a miniature masterpiece of serio-comic writing...A dark comedy, moving between drollery, pathos, farce and harrowing moments of tragic insight" Guardian "I loved this book - Lissa Evans is a wonderful writer; Vee and Noel are utter originals, and their journey made me laugh and cry" -- JoJo Moyes "Wonderfully vivid and eccentric...there's a good dash of sharp comedy to offset the heart-warming stuff" -- Kate Saunders The Times "A fabulous novel about the relationship between ten-year-old Noel and his unscrupulous but endearing foster mother, Vee Sedge" -- January Book Club Pick Woman & Home "Lissa Evans writes with tremendous wit as well as sensitivity, creating memorable characters with hearts of gold" Daily Express "Unmissable...Why is Lissa Evans not one of our best-known and best-loved authors?...The great joy of Lissa Evans's writing lies in her spirited, quirky characters and, as befits a former producer of Father Ted and director of Have I Got News For You, a devilish wit" Sunday Express "At Christmas you need a book that's going to make you want to curl up in an armchair while it's raining outside and that book is Crooked Heart. It is funny and warm and so insightful and moving. An instant classic" -- India Knight Sainsburys Magazine "Evans has a delightful tone, airy and bouncy, but with a perceptive irony and a spattering of caustic details. It recalls carefully constructed, deceptively light comic novels by the likes of Stella Gibbons and Nancy Mitford...And while the horror of war is tilted at, it's also often a source of laughter in the dark. It's a refreshingly crisp approach that allows moments of genuine pathos to be all the more resonant" -- Holly Williams Independent on Sunday "A wonderfully Dickensian novel with satisfying plot twists that invoke the flavour (and scams) of wartime London ... Evans has created a story both darkly funny and deeply touching, it's a crooked journey straight to the heart" -- Judith Newman New York Times Book Review
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