London in the aftermath of war: children run wild on East End bombsites, while their elders strive for better lives in a country beggared by victory. Clarence and Bernadette Malcolm have come five thousand miles in search of prosperity, but find the Mother Country not at all as has been promised them; Solly and Dora Lazarus, too, are strangers in a strange land, struggling to belong even as they try to make sense of their past; and Michael and Mary Lockhart take with both hands all that the world owes them, wherever it leads them, whatever the cost.
In the street markets and tenements of Bethnal Green the three families live and work together in uneasy harmony, until Michael shatters the balance between them, his hunger for betterment changing the courses of all their lives over decades and generations. Reaching across 40 years and capturing a city and a people in a time of tumultuous change, What Was Promised is a breathtaking novel by a master storyteller.
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