Book review: The Faithful + competition

By Juliet West
Published by Mantle

Synopsis: July 1935. In the village of Aldwick on the Sussex coast, sixteen-year-old Hazel faces a long, dull summer with just her self-centred mother Francine for company. But then Francine decamps to London with her lover Charles, Oswald Mosley's blackshirts arrive in Aldwick, and Hazel's summer suddenly becomes more interesting. She finds herself befriended by two very different people: Lucia, an upper-class blackshirt, passionate about the cause; and Tom, a young working-class boy, increasingly scornful of Mosley's rhetoric. In the end, though, it is Tom who wins Hazel's heart - and Hazel who breaks his.

Autumn 1936. Now living in London, Hazel has grown up fast over the past year. But an encounter with Tom sends her into freefall. He must never know why she cut off all contact last summer, betraying the promises they’d made. Yet Hazel isn't the only one with secrets. Nor is she the only one with reason to keep the two of them apart…

How did this book end up in my hands? I saw the cover on Twitter, found out the novel is partly set in Sussex and contacted a super friendly book publicist who then sent me a copy to review.

Was it a page-turner? Yes, absolutely. This novel is graced with plot twists in all the right places. You will find that you just need that one more page before putting the book down. And then ten more!

Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? I was lucky yet again and found this novel to meet and exceed expectations. Perhaps I expected it to have less plot twists, which was a positive surprise. Whatever my expectations, I found myself in for a treat!

Did I like the ending? [no spoilers] Yes, the ending had some very nice touches and was utterly satisfying.

Three words to describe it. Surprising. Evocative. Gripping.

Do I like the cover? The cover is absolutely gorgeous. I can even feel the breeze and hear the caws of the seagulls!

Have I read any other books by the same author? Not yet but I will remedy this mistake.

Will I be recommending this book? Yes, especially if you like time travel and want to be able to experience the ’30s via the pages of a book. The fashion, the lifestyle, the historical events… it’s all there, together with some unforgettable – and at times unforgivable – characters.

Anything else? Yes! The publisher has kindly offered one copy of The Faithful to go to a lucky reader! All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and retweet the competition post by 21/10. UK only. All comments left below will count as extra entries (one per person). Good luck!


  1. I'm currently going through a phase of loving books set in the first half of the 20th century, so this sounds right up my street.

  2. A fascinating period of history. I'd love to read this


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