A book that made me miss my stop on the tube!
Lissa Evans, author of Their Finest and Crooked Heart
The Faithful is about many things: motherhood, fascism, life’s dilemmas, but mostly it is about love. Juliet West knows how to create an evocative sense of time and place, and then fill it with the most interesting characters, and finally, deliver a story that kept me guessing. I loved it.
Claire Fuller, author of Our Endless Numbered Days and Swimming Lessons
Juliet has a wonderful way of drawing the reader into the story, with sympathetic and completely believable characters. I really enjoyed spending my time with the cast and it was an extra treat to read a book that’s so enthralling yet a little different.
Louise Douglas, author of The Secret by the Lake
Rich in period detail and told with warmth, wit and passion. Wonderful.
Jason Hewitt, author of Devastation Road
A vivid, compelling tale of confused loyalties, compromises and consequences.
Suzannah Dunn, author of The Lady of Misrule
A wonderful novel about desire and its consequences, set amongst the sharply divided politics of the 1930s. A page-turner.
William Ryan, author of The Constant Soldier
Vibrant prose and characters. So well drawn, and incredibly topical.
Vanessa Lafaye, author of At First Light
Rich and multi-layered … At once heartbreaking and full of hope.
Isabel Ashdown, author of Little Sister
Enthralling … tugs the reader close to the inner lives of ordinary people, characters whose decisions and dilemmas, loves and losses remain with you long after reading.
Jane Rusbridge, author of Rook
A compelling and perceptive story of divided loyalties and the complexities of love, friendship and family.
Isabel Costello, book blogger and author of Paris Mon Amour
Vivid and unforgettable … a must-read.
Ann Weisberger, author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree and The Promise
Before the Fall is as poignant as it is powerful. With tremendous sensitivity and insight, Juliet West explores the consequences of private lives engulfed by the public catastrophe of war. At the same time, nothing diminishes the force of her storytelling. Her characters - including London’s East End itself - are unforgettable.
Alison MacLeod, author of Booker-longlisted Unexploded.
Before the Fall is a stunning debut; a breathtaking portrayal of life and love in all its complexity. Juliet West’s powerful yet subtle prose is utterly riveting. The story was so real, it was almost as if I could feel it in my bones. This is a book which haunted me long after I had read the final, heartbreaking pages.
Suzannah Dunn, author of The Confession of Katherine Howard.
My favourite Great War novel … incredible writing.
Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep.
Before the Fall is an astonishing literary achievement. Set during World War I, Juliet West’s powerful and crisp prose creates an atmosphere of impending doom and lays bare the hardships of life in London’s East End. West deftly captures the voices of the working poor who are caught in webs of duty to country, family, friends, and work. The author understands the complexities of war at the home front, and as bombs fall on London, she pulls us deeper and deeper into this mesmerizing story of desire, love, loss, and courage.
Ann Weisgarber, Orange Prize longlisted author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree.
An evocative picture of war-torn Britain that’s both poignant and powerful.
Good Housekeeping November 2014
Undoubtedly the best novel I have read this year, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes their historical fiction on the literary side.
The Historical Novels Review, Editors’ Choice review
The outcome [of the novel] is tragic and, given the needless slaughter on the battlefield, horribly ironic, but the parallels drawn between the wastage in the trenches and that of the home front are precisely the point. London’s noises and smells seep through a poignant and confidently handled text, which is based on a true story.
Daily Mail review June 19 2014
When passion is pure and the world is cruel, tragic love stories can get dangerously close to melodrama… To West’s great credit, she’s molded that template into an engrossing and ultimately credible story in which private lives are betrayed by history.
The American review May 07 2014
Juliet West has created some wonderfully believable characters and her descriptions of London are breathtaking. I have not read a book that brings the sense of time and place to life as well as this one does. I was living and breathing the war years in London.
In short this is a wonderful book, intelligent, wise, and full of passion and courage. I absolutely loved it and I can’t praise it highly enough. I would recommend Before the Fall to anyone who is looking for a superb read, a page-turning drama that’s exactly of its time, and a story and characters that will stay in the mind long after the book is finished.
Louise Douglas, author of The Secrets Between Us.
Juliet West’s Before the Fall is a highly accomplished debut with that integrity - sense of wholeness - which is so often lacking in novels of all genres and at all points on the literary scale. Based - tragically - on actual events, it is in essence a love story set in London’s East End during the First World War, but it stands out for the quality of its writing, and for the way in which it depicts the moral spectrum of its period rather than ours.
Novel of the Week on literary website Cornflower Books
This is a wonderful novel, beautifully evocative of the time and place and absolutely heartbreaking in very many ways. I was enthralled throughout.
As a picture of war torn Britain this is extraordinarily fascinating…the background and the claustrophobic atmosphere of life in general is brilliantly captured. Most of all the sense of what life was like for women then – especially those whose husbands were in the trenches – is compelling and emotional … An extremely addictive, passionate and poignant read.
Book blogger Liz Wilkins Liz Loves Books
This is a wonderful story of love against all the odds, full of tenderness, bravery and the world in which they live: inspired by a true story, it will stay with me for a long time. It’s a real page turner, as you desperately want to see what will become of Hannah and Daniel. And it’s quite beautifully written, with believable dialogue and vivid description. I loved it.
Book blogger Anne Williams Being Anne…
I felt I was there, and by the middle of the book I felt I knew the place. I love walking, and to be led around these unfamiliar streets, and visit these tough pubs, the river and the tunnel is eye-opening. It’s extraordinary and never intrusive – the result of subtle writing and clever research.
Writer and literary blogger Amanda Oosthuizen Amanda’s Circus
Juliet West’s writing is as powerful as it is poetic, she creates an almost claustrophobic atmosphere with words. The complexities of forbidden love, the effects of war on the community, the sense of duty and utter hopelessness is portrayed skilfully and most beautifully. Before the Fall is a love story to break hearts.
Book blogger Anne Cater Random Things Through My Letterbox
Juliet West’s ear for dialogue and eye for period detail make this a rich and evocative read in which the last hundred years or so melt away. This is also a brave novel which doesn’t shy away from the bleakness of real events. Poignant throughout, at times it is deeply shocking and upsetting, but not in the way you might expect of a WW1 novel. A humane and compelling debut.
Writer and literary blogger Isabel Costello The Literary Sofa
Juliet’s writing has the same melancholic and haunting atmosphere of Helen Dunmore. Honest storytelling, lyrical yet fluid and so readable.
Writer and literary blogger Tracy Fells The Literary Pig
A true picture of life in London during the war and the lengths that a woman had to go to for happiness. I would thoroughly recommend this book and would love to read more by Juliet West.
Book blogger Charlotte Jones Ramblings of an Elfpire
The author writes in a lovely style, both literary and very readable. The ending makes for surprising and heartbreaking reading.
Book blogger Lindsay Healy The Little Reader Library
I absolutely fell in love with Juliet’s writing style. The way she portrays Hannah’s deeply emotionally troubled state of mind and the hopelessness of her situation is pure genius!
If you are looking for an intense book that will capture you from the first page onwards until long after you’ve read the last page, I can highly recommend this book to you.
Book blogger Cosmochicklitan
I found myself totally drawn into this story of forbidden love… This is the author’s debut novel and hopefully the first of many more to come.
Book blogger Karen Dennise My Reading Corner
A beautifully written and compassionate novel.
Book blogger Kate Atherton For Winter Nights
Before the Fall has affected me in the way that only an epic story can achieve. Everything about this book moved me.
Book blogger Becca’s Books
Raw and personal… a unique piece of writing.
Literary blog The Book Trail
A compelling read and one that will haunt you for some time to come.
Sussex Style magazine November 2014