Publication Date: Available Now from Orenda
Source: Via the publisher and several reads later….
All the stories died that morning … until we found the one we’d always known.
When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued. Poignant, beautifully written and tenderly told, How To Be Brave weaves together the contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child’s life with an extraordinary true account of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War. A simply unforgettable debut that celebrates the power of words, the redemptive energy of a mother’s love … and what it really means to be brave.
It’s difficult to know where to begin with “How to be Brave”..there’s a whole history behind my love of this novel and a little bit of a thing. There was a time in my life recently and ongoing where I’ve had to be brave…during that time one of the things I did was some reading for my very good friend and the loveliest lady in the whole wide world, Karen Sullivan of Orenda books fame. She kept me busy in order to keep me sane – one of the things that landed was this. How to Be Brave, a debut from equally lovely lady Louise Beech. And I was in awe. And should probably thank Nick Quantrill too he knows what for.
I read it start to finish. Couldn’t put it down, couldn’t stop, was immersed in the gorgeous power of the prose and the sheer imaginative and emotional pull of the whole thing. This is a novel about life. A novel about love. A novel about the things that haunt us and the things that save us. It had a particularly beautiful quality I’ve not seen captured in any other book I’ve read ever. And this was quite an early read. The finished product is a thing of pure joy – I have indeed devoured it twice since then and probably will again.
The author’s background and family experiences play into “How to be Brave” and make it authentic, immersive and an unforgettable reading experience. It reminds us of the frailty of the human condition and speaks to the deeper maternal love that exists between mother and child – parents everywhere will simply exist within the pages.
The two threads of the story are cleverly interwoven, the historical aspects are stunningly intuitive and with a highly engaging sense of place and time – a novel of two intensely emotional halves creating an incredible whole. Yes it is emotionally resonant, you will cry but it is also brave, true and utterly compelling, a cliffs edge read where you are waiting for that moment then realise that the whole darn thing is THAT moment.
What else can I say? I think that will have to do you.
Don’t wait another minute for this one. There’s a time to read and this is it.
Louise is on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LouiseWriter
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Some very special reads coming up soon. I guarantee it.
Happy Reading Folks!