Perfectly Ordinary People

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Pub Date 26 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 09 Aug 2022

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In occupied France, two people sacrificed everything. Now their granddaughter has come looking for the truth…

Ruth’s childhood was a happy one, and her family—on her mother’s side—large and loving. But her father’s French origins have always remained a mystery. Now, with aged relatives beginning to die, Ruth decides to research her father’s family before it’s too late.

When she discovers a series of long-lost cassettes, everything she thought she knew about them shatters. The tapes expose an unimaginable truth – an epic wartime story of hidden love and sacrifice, stretching back to occupied France.

These long-buried confessions will rock Ruth’s family—and finally piece together the puzzle of her father’s heritage. But are any of them ready for the truth?

In occupied France, two people sacrificed everything. Now their granddaughter has come looking for the truth…

Ruth’s childhood was a happy one, and her family—on her mother’s side—large and loving...

A Note From the Publisher

Nick Alexander was born in 1964 in the UK. He has travelled widely and has lived and worked both in the UK, the USA and France, where he resides today. Perfectly Ordinary People is his seventeenth novel. Nick is the author of multiple international bestsellers, including Things We Never Said, The Photographer’s Wife and The Other Son. Nick’s novels have been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Turkish, Croatian and Estonian. Nick lives in the southern French Alps with his partner, four cats and three trout.

Nick Alexander was born in 1964 in the UK. He has travelled widely and has lived and worked both in the UK, the USA and France, where he resides today. Perfectly Ordinary People is his seventeenth...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781542032476
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 8 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the eARC.
What a lovely book this is, again; Nick Alexander is a wonderful writer, I absolutely love this author.
Ruth is trying to find out more about her father's family history and what she finds is shocking, sad, and at the same time becomes a wonderful and enlightening part of the family's life.
The parts taking place during WWII are horrifying and beyond belief: the extreme cruelty is overwhelming. The difficulties of staying alive are almost insurmountable for many, especially if you're Jewish, gay, a communist, Romany...unless you're blond and blue-eyed you're a target.
This is a must-read that will stay with you for a long time. Highly recommended!

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Wow, loved it!

In occupied France best friends Pierre and Genevieve find themselves facing uncertainty and danger leaving them no option but to sacrifice everything to keep themselves and others safe.

With a large, boisterous, and close Irish family on her mother’s side, Ruth is aware that she doesn’t know much about her paternal grandparents. With her dad reluctant to talk about them, Ruth is even more curious and sets out to learn more, but can Ruth’s family cope with the secrets she uncovers?

Oh my goodness this is a rollercoaster! Never having read this author before, I wasn’t sure what to expect and the first chapter had me chuckling to myself over their big family Christmas as I was lulled gently into the story. But this is a book of contrasts and suddenly I was propelled back in time to France and all the angst, pain and heartache that those families faced under German occupation.

Interspersed with Ruth’s search for answers, Pierre’s and Genevieve’s story is told through a series of emotional interviews for a magazine some years later. I thought this worked brilliantly. It is a hard read at times and painfully detailed in places but I thought necessarily so to understand the characters, and the harrowing ordeals they experienced.

I liked all the main characters immensely, especially Ruth’s dad - a man of few words, misunderstood at times, by even himself - and his relationship with his daughter felt real and familiar, and I just wanted to give him a hug towards the end!

This is just the kind of book I love - contemporary mixed with some history, emotional with some real heartache moments, but with little bits of humour every now and then to lighten the mood. And of course with relatable characters about - well - perfectly ordinary people.

I gave this book 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for providing this advance copy in exchange for an honest review
Note - There are a few possible triggers in this book including anti-Semitism and homophobia. There are also references to suicide and drug-taking.

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I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Nick’s latest book, and what a gift it was. Nicks books are always captivating, with well crafted characters, and a storyline that has you hooked from the beginning. This book was no exception. It has historical content that was hard to read, the descriptions of how gays and Jewish people in particular were treated in the war was incredibly harrowing,, but was necessary to ensure the history of the characters was truthfully told.. I devoured this book in three sittings, once again, Nick has written a wonderful , thought provoking book that deserves to be on every bestsellers list in 2022 and beyond.

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Started this book with the greatest interest, but as I read more I found it trite, written poorly, unrealistic. Using the Holocaust era in this way is , frankly, disturbing. Not one I’d finish.

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A novel of two halves, connected by one family. In the present time it is Ruth who is perplexed that she knows virtually nothing about her father’s family and how they came to England from France at the end of WW2. Delving back into the war raging in Europe we have the back story from Ruth’s aunt Genevieve’s recorded interview of the harrowing story of her escape from Mulhouse, in Alsace France, fleeing the Germans with her childhood friend Pierre and someone else’s baby. Against all odds the trio stay together and survive the war, protecting themselves by changing their names.

Ruth slowly, through the interview tapes, unravels her family’s past. Breaking the news she has uncovered to her father, that he is not who he thought he was, nor were the relationships between his peer generation, results in a major family rift. Sadly this takes time before the wounds are healed. It’s a fascinating, at times heartbreaking, story of survival not just during the war, but in the current time, of family unity and relationships.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers Lake Union for this advance copy.

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This is my first time reading anything from this author, but I will absolutely be going back for more! I read a ton of historical fiction and never have a read about the LGBTQIA experiences during ww2. The format felt a bit clunky at the beginning, but once I got used to it, I could not put this book down. I will absolutely tell everyone I know about this extraordinary story!

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A really enjoyable read that deals with family history and dynamics. It is a daul timeline of present day and World War Two. This was a compelling read that I couldn't put down. You should definitely read this book.

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