In Love and War – The Critical Response

“It’s a title befitting an epic, and Preston emphatically delivers in this, his third novel but his first foray into historical fiction. That he’s a natural at it is clear… Vividly imagined and richly atmospheric, Preston’s dramatic tale propels the reader towards a tense and tragic final showdown.” Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

“Rich in period detail and utterly compelling… brilliant.” Kate Saunders, The Times

“Rich and evocative… powerfully affecting, ambitious in its scope, precise in its attention to detail and infused with a love for Florence and its motley eccentrics – their courage and their suffering.” Stephanie Merritt, The Observer

“Exhilarating… Preston’s flair for recreating atmosphere and contemporary speech is immaculate. Many layers enrich and deepen the story.  The combination of setting, Renaissance art and two mutually attracted foreigners may remind some of The English Patient. Preston asks the same question as Michael Ondaatje: what is left of civilisation after the inhumanity of war? Today, “David” still stands in Florence, an imperturbable rebuke to an epoch of torture and terror.” Suzi Feay, Financial Times

“Genuinely affecting… Preston is excellent at conveying the claustrophobic terror that chokes occupied Florence… A moving tour de force that will leave you exhilarated by human courage yet numb with sadness.” Kate Green, Country Life

“A moving account of one man’s journey towards commitment to a cause… Preston writes, in unaffected but affecting prose, of Lowndes’s realisation of what the times demand of him.” Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times

“Sensitive, intelligent and thrilling… a breathless and beguiling take on the subtleties of war.” Robert Bound, Monocle

“An evocative portrait of passion and fascism. There is much to admire in Alex Preston’s third book…  a living, breathing Forsterian idyll, complete with eccentric and glamorous expats, bohemian writers, and passionate love affairs, all played out against the backdrop of scorching heat and iced Negronis. Taken aback by a stunning view from a window, Esmond is told that Florence is a city of such scorci: ‘A view you glimpse, all of a sudden, that leaps inside you.’ Preston’s narrative offers something comparable.” Lucy Scholes, Independent

“In Preston’s deeply moving story, Lowndes learns the full meaning of love and commitment in the most demanding and difficult of circumstances.” BBC History Magazine, Book of the Year

“The deeply moving and thrilling tale of the resistance fighters who battled Mussolini’s thugs in pre-war and wartime Florence. There are brilliant and funny cameos of Ezra Pound, Norman Douglas and Diana Mosley; but Preston gradually takes you into places of darkness and evil.” The Tablet, Book of the Year

In Love and War prompts the reflection that evil triumphs because good men have not so much done nothing as done the wrong thing with the best of intentions. The fact that Esmond’s work on behalf of the Italian Resistance is a sort of expiation of his family’s follies gives an extra poignancy to Alex Preston’s fresh and captivating novel.” Jake Kerridge, Literary Review

“This is one of those novels that captivates the reader immediately then ramps up the tension until you literally can’t put it down…  Beautifully written, this is a fresh and fascinating view of Italy before and during the Second World War and an unusually complex story of the death of innocence.” Sally Hughes, We Love This Book

“Preston’s third novel, with its swift and engaging prose, is full of eloquent descriptions of 1930s Florence in all its chaos and beauty. Fact and fiction are masterfully woven to create an intimate portrait of a remarkable man… With a dramatic finale, it is an enthralling and visually spectacular epic narrative.” Lily Cox, The Lady 

“Preston’s prose is as eloquent, and as atmospheric, as always. The perfect read to pair with that first sundowner.” Olivia Cole, GQ

In Love and War, pulls no punches where ambition is concerned, and its opening comes courtesy of E.M. Forster, Norman Douglas and, more recently, Alan Hollinghurst…  Preston is a real talent, who can combine history and the personal, big ideas and intimate plots. Impressive.” James Kidd, South China Morning Post

“The writing of the novel is wonderful in its tone which creates a perfect sense of time and place, and there is an audacious blend of fact and fiction at work… One of the great strengths of this novel is to leave the reader feeling dip-dyed in the past, so rich and vivid is the sensory experience…  this is a beautiful novel of terrible times, beautifully written, beautifully conceived, fearless in its engagement with war as well as love. An absolute must for fans of historical fiction and anyone with an interest in the Second World War.” Victoria Best, Shiny New Books.

“A wartime novel of sentimental education, designed to appeal to readers who know their orzo from their cinghiale in agrodolce.” Anthony Cummins, The Telegraph

“An absolute firecracker of a read… Prepare to sit on the edge of the precipice, prepare for the heartrending plummet of shock and upset, prepare for the impact that a powerful and compelling novel leaves behind.” Lovereading.com

“An epic and magnificently ambitious novel… every time I managed to put the book down I still found myself lost in the Florentine landscape that Preston so lovingly and vividly creates.” David Handley, Express & Star

“This is a deeply moving and thought-provoking book.  Florence has never been more seductive yet the sinister undercurrents of repression and violence rise gradually to a devastating crescendo.  Gripping, beautiful, tragic and shocking, Preston’s wonderful and elegiac novel lingers long in the mind after the last page has been turned.” James Holland, Author of Italy’s Sorrow – A Year of War 1944-45

In Love and War is a tour de force, the story of a young man’s journey from his Fascist father’s politics to love, passion, art, defiance and heroism. Against the backdrop of Florence in World War 2, and the agony of Italy under Mussolini, it is a beautiful and compelling novel.” Amanda Craig, Author of Hearts and Minds

“An admirable novel, eloquent and profound.” Michael Arditti, Author of A Breath of Night

 

 


All content © Copyright 2017 by Alex Preston.
Subscribe to RSS Feed – Posts or just Comments

WordPress Theme Design by Colourform