We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet @HarperCollinsUK @NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #Adoption #WeMustBeBrave #BlogBookReview

We Must Be Brave by [Liardet, Frances]


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


This is a story that not only touched my heart it squeezed it dry. War stories are always tear jerkers and this one was no exception for me. It isn’t a front line story, this is a story of a childless woman and an abandoned three-year old girl wrapped in a blanket and left on a bus. But the story goes way past the end of the war.

Ellen was married and quite adamant that she did not want a family but the day she found Pamela she knew that she needed this little girl in her life as much as the little girl needed a family. The relationship that grows between the pair is as close as any mother and daughter with lovely tender moments. Three years later Ellen learns of a man looking for his daughter after he has returned from the war and she knows in her heart that he is Pamela’s real father.

The heart breaking scenes that follow really got to me and greatly impacted Pamela and Ellen. It really made me think deeper about the children that were sent to the countryside through the war years, not always to loving homes and how it must have affected the whole family. Then after the war the trauma of families being returned that were like strangers coming together. The loss felt by the families that had housed them too and friends that they had made.

The stories follow the lives of Ellen and Pamela and letters that made me cry. The emotions that were built up ready to explode and questions from a little girl now a woman. The end of this story is very, very emotional that had me sobbing. A truly amazing story.

I wish to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an e-copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly.


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 travelling to Cairo to work as a translator. She currently lives in Somerset with her husband and daughter, and runs a summer writing session called Bootcamp. Her first novel, The Game, won a Betty Trask award. We Must Be Brave is her second novel.

We Must Be Brave by [Liardet, Frances]



3 thoughts on “We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet @HarperCollinsUK @NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #Adoption #WeMustBeBrave #BlogBookReview

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