When We Were Brave written by Suzanne Kelman, publisher Bookouture, is available NOW in ebook, audiobook and paperback format.
The face of the woman in the photograph was tilted upwards, as if enjoying the sunshine just for a moment, even as the wreckage of the bombed-out street lay behind her…
1944, Cornwall: Blinded by love, Vivienne Hamilton eloped to Paris with a Nazi prisoner-of-war, never to be seen again. A disgrace to her family, her name would not be mentioned by any of her relatives for over 75 years.
Present day, London: When Sophie discovers a photograph of her great aunt Vivi from World War Two, it throws her into a world of confusion. Because, as she learns about this secret relative, she quickly realises that the photograph doesn’t fit with her family’s story. It shows Vivi leaving an address associated with a spy network in London – a place she had no reason to be – and it is dated right before she disappeared.
Meanwhile Sophie’s own life feels as blasted and bombed as the blitzed city in the photograph she’s looking at. Her beautiful daughter – as full of joy and wild energy as Vivi had apparently once been – is gone; and Sophie’s heart has been left broken into pieces.
Retreating to the family home in rural Cornwall to seek solace from her pain and the feelings of guilt that she could have done more to protect her daughter, Sophie finds herself becoming obsessed with Vivi’s life.
But nothing can prepare Sophie for what she is about to uncover – the story of a woman who risked everything for the person she loved the most; and a secret family history that could be the key to Sophie’s own future.
A powerful, haunting and unforgettable read about love, heartbreak and betrayal set in Second World War Britain and France. Perfect for fans of The Nightingale, Under a Scarlet Sky and My Name is Eva.
I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes
I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Suzanne Kelman’s latest novel: When We Were Brave.
This is my first introduction to the work of Suzanne Kelman and her writing blew me away, I’ve subsequently downloaded her bestselling novel A View Across the Rooftops as I need more of her words to satisfy my thirst for her work.
When We Were Brave is a totally captivating historical time slip novel about the bravery of the silent heroes of WWII, the secret agents who intercepted codes and messages. When We Were Brave was truly brilliant storytelling by Suzanne Kelman and her words broke me.
I find historical novels set around the two wars fascinating, I especially like to read and learn about the impact it had on people, those not on the frontline but equally displaying a bravery for the task they’d chosen to help with the war effort.
When We Were Brave is a time slip novel were the present day learns something about a relative who lived during WW2. This relative’s life has been lived in a shadow of accusation and for many years their existence had been banished to a cupboard never to be spoken of again. Until Sophie discovers a photograph of her Great Aunt Vivi taken during WW2. This photograph opens up a conversation that Sophie’s elderly relatives wish to shy away from but Sophie feels compelled to seek the truth about her Great Aunt. Sophie goes on a journey of painstakingly researching through many war records across London, Cornwall, Paris and Berlin.
The story then slips back to 1943 to when a young woman who is headstrong and a little reckless makes the decision to be trained as a SOE and risk her life in the name of wartime espionage, the silent and invisible heroes of conflict.
Both sides of this story entranced me; Sophie unearthing more and more about her Great Aunt and piecing together a completely different picture to what Vivi was remembered as. I was also equally fascinated by this brave young woman Vivi who was all alone in a world of unrest and danger but there was a human element to her new role that Vivi found herself making new friends and falling in love.
The author has written such a wonderful, compelling story that will grip you to the very end, it will break your heart but it will also leave you with a sense of gratitude for these selfless individuals. I can’t stop thinking about this story.
Suzanne Kelman is a 2015 Academy of Motion Pictures Nicholl Finalist, Multi-Award-Winning Screenwriter and a Film Producer. As well as working in film she is also an International Amazon Bestselling Fiction Author of the Southlea Bay Series – The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, Rejected Writers Take the Stage and The Rejected Writers’ Christmas Wedding. Born in the United Kingdom, she now resides in Washington State.