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A black comedy about the making of a propaganda film in World War II, destined to become a classic britflick

Now a major film starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy.

It's 1940. In a small advertising agency in Soho, Catrin Cole writes snappy lines for Vida Elastic and So-Bee-Fee gravy browning. But the nation is in peril, all skills are transferable and there's a place in the war effort for those who have a knack with words.

Catrin is conscripted into the world of propaganda films. After a short spell promoting the joy of swedes for the Ministry of Food, she finds herself writing dialogue for 'Just an Ordinary Wednesday', a heart-warming but largely fabricated 'true story' about rescue and romance on the beaches of Dunkirk. And as bombs start to fall on London, she discovers that there's just as much drama, comedy and passion behind the scenes as there is in front of the camera . . .

Originally published as Their Finest Hour and a Half

Reviews

[Lissa Evans] displays a fine eye for detail and for the absurdities involved in filming. She also brilliantly evokes the disruption and dangers of wartime London. This funny, heart-warming and beautifully crafted novel is a must-read

Daily Mail

Beautifully written, minutely observed and researched, evocative and very funny tale

Michele Hanson, Guardian

Comic, poignant and altogether delightful, raised spirits are guaranteed

Easy Living

This is a comic novel, but far warmer in tone and broader in scope than that label would suggest...Gloriously observed...Hilliard is a wonderful creation - and Evans's recreated propaganda scripts are a total joy. Delicious

The Times

Pitch-perfect in tone and populated by some unforgettable characters, Lissa Evans's blackly comic new novel is a delight

The Gloss Magazine

Her Orange longlisted novel comes close to Michael Moorcock's Mother London, or even Sara Waters's The Night Watch, in illuminating not just the deprivations, but also the liberations of the war years

Guardian

Her tale of artistes attempting a morale-boosting low-budget British film in 1941 is a joy...Evans knows exactly when to play scenes for their wry comedy and when to play things straight...the austerity of domestic life is beautifully caught...This is the truest and most enjoyable novel about home-front life I've read; it's touching and hilarious

Christopher Fowler, Independent on Sunday

The characters and their dialogue and the author's quiet humour are what make this really sing. It deserves to do really well.

Daily Telegraph

A triumph...A compulsively readable tragi-comedy to savour. *****

Sunday Express

This novel has clever narrative, lively dialogue and lyrical imagery. I loved the author's highly polished prose, whether sparkling with wit or achingly poignant. She creates a magical blend of humour and pathos. I enjoyed every page.

New Books Magazine

This affectionate and brilliantly observed novel has the charm of a black and white movie filtered through the knowing eye of a modern writer, whose sparkling prose is as highly crafted as an ivory carving. Its wry humour is complemented by the genuine drama faced by each of the characters.

You Magazine (Mail on Sunday) Book of the Month

Evans's evocation of Britain at war is richly observed, poignant and very witty. It's a terrific read, packed with memorable characters

Mail on Sunday

I defy anyone not to fall for Lissa Evans' smart, funny, ingenious, revealing tale of London life during the Second World War

Independent on Sunday

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781784162610

    April 3, 2017

    Black Swan

    416 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
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    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781409080190

    September 1, 2010

    Transworld Digital

    416 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Lissa Evans

Crooked Heart
Big Change for Stuart
Small Change for Stuart
Their Finest Hour and a Half

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