THEIR FINEST (originally published as ‘Their Finest Hour and a Half’)
Long-listed for the Orange Prize
‘From beginning to end, Their Finest is a delight. .. Evans’s prose is beautifully sharp, begging to be reread for a second laugh or to savor a particularly delicious turn of phrase. The reader is lulled into thinking this is a novel that doesn’t take itself seriously, only to be walloped with the occasionally unforeseen emotional punch. Highly recommended.’ Historical Novels Review
‘This is the truest and most enjoyable novel about home-front life I’ve read; it’s touching and hilarious’ Independent on Sunday
It’s 1940. France has fallen, and only a narrow strip of sea lies between Great Britain and invasion. The country is in peril. What’s needed (obviously) is a morale-boosting, heart-warming war film, preferably one that will appeal to the American market.
As bombs start to fall on London, work begins on ‘Just an Ordinary Wednesday’, an almost-true tale of bravery and rescue at Dunkirk. And since call-up has stripped the film industry of the brightest and best, it’s the callow, the jaded and the utterly unsuitable who are making up the numbers.
There’s Catrin Cole, junior copy-writer turned romantic dialogue specialist; Ambrose Hilliard, third most popular British film star of 1924, currently available for all leading roles; Edith Beadmore, ex-seamstress at Madame Tussaud’s and ex-Londoner, having been bombed twice in two months; and Arthur Frith, whose peacetime job as a catering manager hasn’t prepared him for his sudden, unexpected elevation to Special Military Advisor.
And in a serious world, in a nation under siege, in a city visited nightly by destruction, they must work together to produce a slice of the purest entertainment.
‘I defy anyone not to fall for Lissa Evans’ smart, funny, ingenious, revealing tale of London life during the Second World War’ The Independent
‘Gloriously observed…Evans’s recreated propaganda scripts are a total joy. Delicious.’ The Times
‘Beautifully written, minutely observed and researched, evocative and very funny’ The Guardian
‘This funny, heart-warming and beautifully crafted novel is a must-read’ Daily Mail
‘A triumph…A compulsively readable tragi-comedy to savour’ Sunday Express