The People We Were Before
By Annabelle Thorpe
A bold, dark, romantic debut set in war-torn 1990s Croatia, for fans of Victoria Hislop and Louis de Bernieres.
If war is madness, how can love survive?
Yugoslavia, summer 1979. A new village. A new life. But eight-year-old Miro knows the real reason why his family moved from the inland city of Knin to the sunkissed village of Ljeta on the Dalmatian Coast, a tragedy he tries desperately to forget.
The Ljeta years are happy ones, though, and when he marries his childhood sweetheart, and they have a baby daughter, it seems as though life is perfect. However, storm clouds are gathering above Yugoslavia.
War breaks out, and one split-second decision destroys the life Miro has managed to build. Driven by anger and grief, he flees to Dubrovnik, plunging himself into the hard-bitten world of international war reporters.
There begins a journey that will take him ever deeper into danger: from Dubrovnik, to Sarajevo, to the worst atrocities of war-torn Bosnia, Miro realises that even if he survives, there can be no way back to his earlier life. The war will change him, and everyone he loves, forever.
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- Publication date:
21 Apr 2016
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I loved the way the author merges the compelling personal stories of this family against the dramatic background of the troubles of Yugoslavia in the 1980s. Miro is strong but flawed - an utterly realistic character - and when he is flung into the war his life is changed forever. How he copes with what he witnesses; with loss, disillusion and guilt, makes for a fascinating story which is told with integrity and authenticity — Rosanna Ley
Tender, truthful, moving and at times painful — Sunday Mirror
A rattlingly good read, pacily plotted and ambitious in scope — Wendy Holden, Daily Mail
Thorpe's moving, powerful tale examines how easy it is for us to lose humanity in the face of evil — Daily Express
An important chronicle of one of the most disgraceful conflicts of the late 20th century . . . and quite apart from the history lesson, it's a fascinating read — Irish Independent on Sunday