Crooked Heart (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

World War II is in vogue right now (All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale), and Crooked Heart can now join their ranks. It's the story of ten-year-old Noel, who is evacuated from London during the Blitz. He is taken in by a skittish widow named Vee, who figures she might make a little money through charitable donations and catch up on her debts. The war seems far away at first, but then its effects begin to be felt in the little village of St. Albans. There are humorous moments in the lives of these wonderful characters, but the story is grounded in reality, and ultimately it's about what it means to be a family.

— From Mark B.


Paper Moon meets the Blitz in this original black comedy, set in World War II England, chronicling an unlikely alliance between a small time con artist and a young orphan evacuee.

When Noel Bostock--aged ten, no family--is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vera Sedge--a thirty-six-year old widow drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she's unscrupulous about how she gets it.

Noel's mourning his godmother Mattie, a former suffragette. Wise beyond his years, raised with a disdain for authority and an eclectic attitude toward education, he has little in common with other children and even less with the impulsive Vee, who hurtles from one self-made crisis to the next. The war's provided unprecedented opportunities for making money, but what Vee needs--and what she's never had--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 a scheme. Crisscrossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life. 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. . . .

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062364845
ISBN-10: 0062364847
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: July 5th, 2016
Pages: 304
Language: English