ANNA BLISS at Books Inc. Alameda

Author image of Anna Bliss and cover photo of her book Bonfire Night

Books Inc. Alameda proudly welcomes local author Anna Bliss to the shop for the book launch of of her novel Bonfire Night!

Spanning from England's anti-fascism protests of 1936 through the aftermath of WWII, this moving, intricately wrought historical novel brings together a young Irish Catholic photographer and a British Jewish medical student, each discovering the price of love, art, and ambition...

London, 1936: At twenty-one, Kate Grifferty is a press photographer in a Fleet Street agency, an unusual job for a young woman. But Kate is both talented and daring, recklessly going wherever the story might be--including, one October day, to an anti-fascism protest in East London. There, she meets David Rabatkin, a brilliant Jewish medical student. While his idealistic brother is eager to go to Spain and join the fight for the Republic, David knows where his path lies: at home, fulfilling the expectations of his profession and his family.

Kate is exposed for the first time to the dangers and demands of David's world, where marrying within the Jewish faith is seen as not only preferable, but key to survival. Kate neither expects nor wants to be any man's wife, hampered by convention. And though she and David are both outsiders, as war looms, other differences between them are thrown into sharp relief.

Brighton, 1940: Catastrophe forces Kate to flee London and the onslaught of war finds her working at her sister's seaside boarding house, while David tends patients at a busy London hospital as the Blitz rages. But Kate's challenges and disappointments have only deepened her desire to capture images of life unfurling around her, the beauty and violence, struggles and surprising joys. And soon fate and ambition will align, providing her with the chance to make her mark at last . . .


"A remarkably impressive debut and a most tender work of art, providing a heartrending look at a couple in love while the world implodes and explodes around them. With the eye of a painter, Bliss uses the finest of brushes to vividly and crisply depict her characters while displaying an astonishing breadth of compassion for the situations in which they must struggle and persevere. Bonfire Night is a treasure of a novel, beautifully written with the unflinching style and subtle psychological insights of such masters as Ian McEwan and Graham Swift." --Natalie Jenner, internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society and Bloomsbury Girls

"If you are a fan of Kate Quinn or Kristin Harmel, pull up a chair and settle down with Anna Bliss's propulsive debut Bonfire Night. Wonderfully written and exquisitely researched, the work is a rare look into the rise of fascism in London preceding World War II, while exploring the costs of both love, female ambition and the lengths we will go to in order to make our mark on the world." --Jo Piazza, international bestselling author of The Knockoff and We Are Not Like Them

"This beautifully written, timely historical novel encompasses so much - difficult family ties, female ambition, and the sacrifices we make for love. With her meticulous research and heartrending descriptions of life in Brighton during the war, Anna Bliss had me turning the pages into the night." --Janet Skeslien CharlesNew York Times and International bestselling author of The Paris Library

Bonfire Night is the whole package: an immersive World War II read with a sweetly fraught love story and strong, unforgettable characters. I was mesmerized by it and read long into the night, unable to put it down." --Martha Conway, author of The Physician's Daughter

Bonfire Night is a beautifully crafted book about love, war, hope, fear, betrayal, and forgiveness; about missed chances and impossible choices. And although this is Anna Bliss's first novel it's the work of a wise and warmhearted storyteller, someone who understands what's at stake when decent people find themselves caught in the surging currents of history." --Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo

"Bonfire Night is a powerful, poignant debut written with the skill of a master. Ms Bliss's perfectly flawed characters and exceptional research led me on a rich, multi-layered journey of love, betrayal, heartbreak, and most compelling of all, a burning search for freedom within the raging fires of war." --Genevieve Graham , USA Today bestselling author of Letters Across the Sea

"Magnificently written, Anna Bliss's Bonfire Night is a captivating story of love and war. It's a beautifully crafted novel with a fresh view on the rise of fascism in WWII." --Alan Hlad, internationally bestselling author of Churchill's Secret Messenger


Anna Bliss is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and the University of Sussex, where she wrote her dissertation on women's narratives of the London Blitz during World War II. An alumna of the juried Northern California Writers' Retreat, she also has studied at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Social Welfare, the American Jewish University, and the UCLA Extension Writers' Program. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and sons and can be found online at and on instagram @annablissauthor.

Event date: 
Thursday, January 11, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Books Inc. Alameda
1344 Park St
Alameda, CA 94501
Pre-Order Now Badge
Bonfire Night By Anna Bliss Cover Image
ISBN: 9781496747341
Availability: Coming Soon - AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
Published: A John Scognamiglio Book - December 26th, 2023