Never anyone but you

This book explores the gripping true story of two extraordinary women who smashed gender boundaries & risked their lives to overcome oppression. Theirs is a story that has been hidden in the margins of history – until now…

The true story of a love affair between two extraordinary women becomes a literary tour deforce in this novel that recreates the surrealist movement in Paris and the horrors of the two world wars with a singular incandescence and intimacy.

Rupert Thomson - Never anyone but you
Rupert Thomson

In the years preceding World War I, two young women meet, by chance, in a provincial town in France. Suzanne Malherbe, a shy seventeen-year-old with a talent for drawing, is completely entranced by the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob, who comes from a family of wealthy Jewish intellectuals. They embark on a clandestine love affair, terrified they will be discovered, but then, in an astonishing twist of fate, the mother of one marries the father of the other. As “sisters” they are finally free of suspicion, and, hungry for a more stimulating milieu, they move to Paris at a moment when art, literature, and politics blend in an explosive cocktail.

When Suzanne, a shy 17-year-old, meets the brilliant but troubled Lucie in rural Provence at the turn of the twentieth century, the two young women embark on a clandestine love affair. They soon long for greater freedom and as lovers move to Paris where they recreate themselves entirely, as Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore. Before long, they are mixing in the most glamorous social circles & producing art of great power & strangeness. The world however is rapidly darkening around them. With war looming they leave Paris for Jersey, and it is here that they confront their destiny, dreaming up a campaign of propaganda against Hitler’s occupying forces that will put their love – and even their very existence – in jeopardy!

Having reinvented themselves as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, they move in the most glamorous social circles, meeting everyone from Hemingway and Dalí to André Breton, and produce provocative photographs that still seem avant-garde today. In the 1930s, with the rise of anti-Semitism and threat of fascism, they leave Paris for Jersey, and it is on this idyllic island that they confront their destiny, creating a campaign of propaganda against Hitler’s occupying forces.

Brilliantly imagined, profoundly thought-provoking, and ultimately heartbreaking, Never anyone but you infuses life into a forgotten history as only great literature can. 

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