Being a first-time reader of the works of Frances Liardet, I can boldly say that I am looking forward to reading more of her work.
Her most recent book, ‘We Must Be Brave‘, gives one a glimpse of the quality of work you can expect from Liardet, which is outstanding and can be enjoyed by most if not all people.
Set in the 1940s, the book takes the reader back to the olden days, where it really took a village to raise a child.
It reminds the older generation of that era and provides a lesson to the younger generation.
Perusing through the pages of this book feels like listening to the old folk tales of the perfect life, where people cared about one another.
The story is centred around Ellen Parr, who has just been married to Selwyn for a year.
Prior to her marriage to Selwyn, Ellen had a rough upbringing after the passing of her mother and also her father leaving her.
Ellen met Selwyn at the age of eighteen, who promises her a future without children, which she agrees to.
On their first anniversary, something happens which change both their lives.
Ellen meets young Pamela at the back of the bus that had brought refugees into Upton Hill, a place of safety.
Pamela is sleeping soundly and everyone has left the bus.
Ellen wakes her up and hurries with her outside in an attempt to find the child’s mother in order to reunite them.
When the mother cannot be found, Ellen and Selwyn take in Pamela temporarily with the hope that the parents of the child would be found in due course.
The situations, however, opens a door Ellen has never opened before. She gets to feel like a parent and be responsible for someone’s well-being.
However, numerous questions emanate from this scenario;
Will the time Ellen spends with Pamela be an assurance that she is happy being married without having children or will it arise a desire within to become a parent?
What will happen when Pamela is reunited with her family, if she gets to be reunited with them and what if Ellen has to care for Pamela indefinitely?
The way in which the story in the book is set will keep a reader’s fingers glued to the pages and suppress a feeling of jumping to the last chapter to find the answers.
Every chapter brings with it its own suspense, coupled with a bag of emotions.
Liardet makes good use of the language and a reader is guaranteed to go on an emotional rollercoaster.
One thing I struggled with was to link the title of the book with the story inside.
In my humble opinion, I believe that there could have been a better title that can give the reader a great glimpse of the story inside.
The last part (part three) also took a long time for the events to take place, which is not impossible, but highly unlikely.
It was when reading this part that I came back to the reality that I was actually reading the work of fiction.
Apart from the mentioned bummer, I believe this is a good read, which is why I will give it a rating of 7/10.