We Must Be Brave | 3 1/2 star review

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

We Must Be Brave | 3 1/2 star reviewWe Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet
three-half-stars
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Historical Fiction
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons

Spanning the sweep of the twentieth century, We Must Be Brave explores the fierce love that we feel for our children and the power of that love to endure. Beyond distance, beyond time, beyond life itself.

One woman. One little girl. The war that changed everything.

December 1940. In the disorderly evacuation of Southampton, England, newly married Ellen Parr finds a small child asleep on the backseat of an empty bus. No one knows who little Pamela is.

Ellen professed not to want children with her older husband, and when she takes Pamela into her home and rapidly into her heart, she discovers that this is true: Ellen doesn't want children. She wants only Pamela. Three golden years pass as the Second World War rages on. Then one day Pamela is taken away, screaming. Ellen is no stranger to sorrow, but when she returns to the quiet village life she's long lived, she finds herself asking: In a world changed by war, is it fair to wish for an unchanged heart?

In the spirit of We Were the Lucky Ones and The Nightingale, here is a novel about courage and kindness, hardship and friendship, and the astonishing power of love.

We Must Be Brave was a book that I received from NetGalley and I had been on a real historical fiction push so this seemed to be the perfect fit for my reading but for some reason it just didn’t grab my attention. I actually really struggled with reading through this and I even took a break halfway through reading it which I never do. I think I said in one of the previous posts that I don’t like reading too many books at the same time. I don’t know what it was about this book, but I just wasn’t reaching for it. 

I think one of the problems with We Must Be Brave and I know that this won’t be an issue with the final book but for me it was a huge distraction was the bad formatting in the e-book. I think it really impacted my reading experience and I know that I should look past it to the actual story but I found it really difficult, especially discerning what were people’s names and places. 

We Must Be Brave had a unique perspective that I really loved, the people involved weren’t necessarily in the direct line of the war, but they were impacted just the same. I loved the insight into the way that everything worked and what the fears ended up being outside of the obvious air raids, including invasion and rationing. I thought the fact that there was no obvious threat that it made the telling of the story all the better. 

I did think that the ending was a little bit rushed I loved the concept but I would have loved for there to have been a little more development and I thought the main events in her life were kind off brushed over. I would have liked to see a little more emotion, especially as we had seen so much previously. It almost felt like the entire of the second half of We Must Be Brave was an afterthought and filler until we got to the end.

I loved the relationship that was built between Pamela and Ellen, for once I thought it was a completely realistic, especially with the tantrums and the fact that it wasn’t all perfect from the beginning. Plus it was great to see a child actually deal with grief instead of just being overwhelmingly grateful for being taken in. I thought that We Must Be Brave dealt with this instance perfectly. 

I think even with my issues with We Must Be Brave I would still recommend it. I loved the way the book ended and I also thought the insight into living through the war was extremely well done. Something I was really interested in. 

Are you into Historical Fiction? If so, what are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!

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