Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘When We Were Brave’ by Suzanne Kelman. Here is my review:
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.
What does TWG think?
Reading ‘When We Were Brave’ got me thinking about the fact that I have never, ever been to a museum! How?! I really need to change that!
Sophie is a character that you cant help but warm to. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives to date, what with losing two of the most important people in her life. Knowing that her heart wont be easily fixed, Sophie puts all of her energy into trying to find a relative she never knew existed. Life isnt that simple though is it?
Dual timelines, historical fiction and a whole load of intensity, ‘When We Were Brave’ really ticked my boxes and kept me gripped until the very end. The storyline was full of emotion and heartache, yet it was also full of hope and determination. I really couldn’t have asked for more.