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The Very White of Love

Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

This audiobook includes an exclusive interview between the author, Simon Worrall, and his niece, Nancy’s granddaughter and acclaimed actor Madeleine Worrall, who also reads Nancy’s narrative in this production.

My love. I am writing to you without knowing where you are, but I will find you after all these long months....

3rd September 1938. Martin Preston is in his second year of Oxford when his world is split in two by a beautiful redhead, Nancy Whelan. A whirlwind romance blossoms in the Buckinghamshire countryside as dark clouds begin to gather in Europe.

3rd September 1939. Britain declares war on Germany. Martin is sent to the battlefields of France, but as their letters cross the channel, he tells Nancy their love will keep him safe. Then, one day, his letters stop.

3rd September 1940. It’s four months since Nancy last heard from Martin. She knows he is still alive. And she’ll do anything to find him. But what she discovers will change her life forever....

©2018 S C Worrall (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"Simon Worrall's The Very White of Love is one of those books that after a few chapters, becomes as vital and immediate as real life; an elegant, heart-pounding narrative that bears all the hallmarks of great literature and classic Hollywood." (Simon Van Booy, author of Love Begins in Winter)

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Had me totally enthralled from start to finish!

I only became aware of this beautiful novel after being asked to do some work on the author's website and social media accounts. Had this not have happened I'd have missed out on the best audio book I've ever listened to. Indeed, until today the only audio book I've listened to that I've immediately gone back to listen to again has been Jeremy Irons' narration of Brideshead Revisited. This is now only the second work I've gone straight back to the beginning on, such is its perfect mix of story, prose and performance.

I can't comment on the story too much without revealing "plot spoilers". Love and war make time-tested (and frequently quite hackneyed) bed-fellows, but this is a fresh, exciting, poignant, brutal, disturbing and - ultimately - uplifting love story. It's been exquisitely crafted by the author through the use of his mother's pre-war and wartime letters and poetry, quite excellent historical research and sympathetic imagination to construct the bits in between. It has, in many ways, parallels with the wartime story of my grandfather and grandmother. We have many of their letters from his time with the B.E.F up until his evacuation at Dunkirk and, whilst listening to The Very White of Love, I wondered just how many families the world over also have bundles of love letters in boxes, suitcases and attics but with no-one to tell their tale. The Worrall family have the author to tell this particular story, and how very lucky they are indeed!

A quick word regarding the narration: Both Thomas Judd and Madeleine Worrall do an excellent job of bringing Martin and Nancy to life, and of giving this work the top-notch performances it so richly deserves. The use of Madeleine - Nancy's granddaughter - was a particular stroke of genius :)

I know this superlative-laden review sounds a little gushy and over-the-top in places, but I'm not a writer by trade. Also, the author has already paid me for all the work I did on his website and social media accounts, so my over-enthusiasm is not me just saying nice things so my invoice will get paid sooner :) The Very White of Love is a beautiful story, beautifully written and beautifully narrated. Give it a listen (or a read). You'll be so glad you did!