Raised on a working-class London street in the wake of World War I, Harry Miles wins a scholarship and grows into a sensitive poetry-loving man. Meanwhile, the magnetic and demanding Evelyn Hill grows up with a layabout alcoholic father and dreams of a better life.
When the two fall in love amid the outbreak of World War II, their capacity to care for each other becomes increasingly tested. An unconventional love story that twists and startles, Dear Evelyn recounts the excruciating highs and beautiful lows of two people who shape each other over a lifetime. (From Biblioasis)
Dear Evelyn won the 2018 the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
From the Rogers Fiction Prize jury: "What initially begins as a familiar wartime love story morphs into a startling tale of time's impact on love and family, as well as one's complex search for personal meaning and truth. By integrating themes that are universally understood by readers and skillfully crafting endearing characters that surprise and delight, Page has created a poignant literary work of art."
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From the book
"Bite on this," Mavis said, and gave Adeline a half-moon leather on a string that tied around the wrist: her own invention, she said. Adeline knelt, legs wide, arms thrown over the edge of the double bed, the top of her belly pressing into it. Mavis had rolled back the rug and put down the newspaper topped with clean sheeting. Same on the bed. Bleach in the washing water. Cleanliness. Keep visitors away. She had boiled everything sterile, scrubbed her hands three times. "Bite," she said, "not long now."
The second baby was supposed to come easier, but this little bugger had started off facing out. To bring it round, Mavis had made Adeline crawl up and down the tiled passageway on her hands and knees, time after time, then stand and lean on the end of the bed. Two days. Very little rest. But be grateful it isn't a breech. And be grateful she isn't at York Road: a filthy place, and half the mothers there come out in coffins. And no high-and-mighty doctor charging you the earth. Mavis cost fifteen shillings, however long it took.
From Dear Evelyn by Kathy Page ©2018. Published by Biblioasis.