A child left behind.
A country at war.
A love that endures a lifetime.
‘This is storytelling at its best’ Sarah Winman
‘The perfect book club read’ AJ Pearce
‘Dazzling… fierce, physical and almost inexpressibly tender’ Guardian
Ellen Parr has always been sure she never wanted children. But when she finds a young girl asleep and unclaimed at the back of a bus fleeing the Blitz in Southampton, everything she once believed is overturned.
As she takes Pamela into her home, the little girl cracks open the past Ellen thought she had escaped and the future she thought she wanted, for in uncertain times it seems the only certainty is love.
But with the end of the fighting comes the realization that Pamela was never hers to keep…
We Must Be Brave is an epic and intensely moving novel about the ways we rescue one other, and the astonishing tenacity of the human heart.
‘This is storytelling at its best. Wise, generous and captivating’ Sarah Winman, author of Tin Man
‘Oh, I loved this book so much! It’s strikingly authentic, beautifully written, and a wonderfully touching depiction of the families people create for themselves when blood relatives let them down. It broke my heart and glued it together again. Just perfect’ Jill Mansell, author of Rumour Has It
‘Through years of plenty and poverty, war and peace, Ellen’s story is endlessly affecting, peopled by beautifully drawn, endearing characters. A very special, quietly spectacular novel.’
‘The writing is often dazzling – a child’s voice is “clear, piping, like a twig peeled of its bark” – and this, too, lifts what might have been a sentimental story into different territory altogether … We Must Be Brave is a great success: richly observed, lovingly drawn and determinedly clear-eyed to the last’ Melissa Harrison, Guardian
‘A quiet masterpiece of love and loss, ‘abandoned’ children and rescue and courage … This beautifully written novel had me sobbing, yet addicted’ Bel Mooney, Daily Mail
‘A book about fundamentally decent people doing good things and a story both epic and intimate, so tenderly written it moved me to tears’ Elizabeth Day, author of The Party
‘A wonderful novel. A beautifully written story of love and loss, with thoughtfully crafted characters and so much to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. It is one of those novels you can talk about for hours – the perfect book club read.’
AJ Pearce, author of Dear Mrs Bird
‘I loved this book. We Must Be Brave pulls you in right from the start and stays with you long after you have finished it. Such confident storytelling and perfect attention to detail is really rare’ Esther Walker, onthespike.com
About the author
Frances Liardet is a child of the children of the Second World War. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and studied Arabic at Oxford before traveling to Cairo to work as a translator. She currently lives in Somerset, England, with her husband and daughter, and runs a summer writing session called Bootcamp. We Must Be Brave is her second novel.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
There have, of course, been many novels written about the physical and emotional toll of World War II. Frances Liardet’s novel is one of the more heart-wrenching and deeply personal ones we’ve ever read. As Southampton endures Nazi bombing in 1940, young newlywed Ellen takes in a seemingly abandoned child. The story that follows is both life-affirming and terrifically sad. We Must Be Brave is devastating in its study of what it means to love a child, and unflinching in the questions of morality it poses.
British author and translator Liardet's moving American debut, set in WWII England, follows a childless woman discovering joy after she begins caring for a young girl. Ellen Parr is married to Selwyn, owner of the local mill in the village of Upton, near Southampton. In 1940, while helping evacuees of a nearby bombing who have arrived at Upton by bus, Ellen meets Pamela Pickering, a young child left alone on the bus. Ellen treats Pamela as the daughter she never had (Selwyn is impotent) for the next few years, until Pamela is eight and a relative of Pamela's finds her and takes her to live with family members. Though distraught by Pamela's departure, Ellen survives the devastation around her with the love and support of Selwyn, her childhood friend Lucy Horne, and other villagers who have been a constant presence in Ellen's life. Over 30 years later, Ellen befriends Penny Lacey, a lonely young boarding school student in Upton. Ellen glimpses similarities between Pamela and Penny, and they form a life-changing friendship. Readers will be captivated by Ellen's story, which is bolstered by a swift plot and characters who realistically and memorably grow.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This was a free book, which was far too much money.. one of the most boring pointless books ever