by Anna Bliss
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Pub Date 26 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 02 Jan 2024
Kensington Books, A John Scognamiglio Book
“A a most tender work of art, providing a heartrending look at a couple in love while the world implodes and explodes around them. With the eye of a painter, Bliss uses the finest of brushes to vividly and crisply depict her characters while displaying an astonishing breadth of compassion for the situations in which they must struggle and persevere. Bonfire Night is a treasure of a novel, beautifully written with the unflinching style and subtle psychological insights of such masters as Ian McEwan and Graham Swift.” –Natalie Jenner, internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls
London, 1936: At twenty-one, Kate Grifferty is a press photographer in a Fleet Street agency, an unusual job for a young woman. But Kate is both talented and daring, recklessly going wherever the story might be—including, one October day, to an anti-fascism protest in East London. There, she meets David Rabatkin, a brilliant Jewish medical student. While his idealistic brother is eager to go to Spain and join the fight for the Republic, David knows where his path lies: at home, fulfilling the expectations of his profession and his family.
Kate is exposed for the first time to the dangers and demands of David’s world, where marrying within the Jewish faith is seen as not only preferable, but key to survival. Kate neither expects nor wants to be any man’s wife, hampered by convention. And though she and David are both outsiders, as war looms, other differences between them are thrown into sharp relief.
Brighton, 1940: Catastrophe forces Kate to flee London and the onslaught of war finds her working at her sister’s seaside boarding house, while David tends patients at a busy London hospital as the Blitz rages. But Kate’s challenges and disappointments have only deepened her desire to capture images of life unfurling around her, the beauty and violence, struggles and surprising joys. And soon fate and ambition will align, providing her with the chance to make her mark at last . . .
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Average rating from 20 members
Bonfire Night by Anna Bliss is a great historical fiction that highlights some of the most pivotal years in England leading up to WWII.
Not enough books delve into the pre-war years, and even less take a look at the events surrounding other areas of England other than London. This book takes place in Brighton and it was great to read things happening there in an era other than the Regency or Victorian periods.
The other aspect of this book I think is really important is the focus of antisemitism and the factions of fascism that were happening in England before the war began. Many think that none of these things occurred, but they most definitely did, and to some aspect some of it still does. I hope that by bringing light to some of the darker aspects of our society, we cN learn from these faults and grow to be a more loving and accepting community.
I enjoyed the author’s fictional narrative added in within historical details, true events, and the concepts of love, loss, fear, marginalization, trauma, hope, and the different ways that art, photography, and other forms of expression weave into acceptance, therapy, finding oneself, and in helping overcome trauma.
This book had so much more than just a wartime romance. It had history, action, passion, suspense, well-written characters and a strong character driven plot.
Definitely unique, entertaining, and needed.
Thank you NG and Kensington Books, A John Scognamiglio Book for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 12/26/23.