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.
Annabelle Thorpe has been a travel and features journalist for fifteen years, writing for national print and online media. She currently works as a freelance, writing mostly for the Times, Telegraph and Guardian, alongside copywriting, non-fiction travel books and PR consultancy work for the National Trust. Alongside her journalism, Annabelle completed an MA in Contemporary History in September 2012 and is an alumna of Curtis Brown Creative. She lives in Angmering, West Sussex
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- Publication date:
23 Feb 2017
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Tender, truthful, moving and at times painful — Sunday Mirror
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, author of The Villa and Bay of Secrets
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