Why we all fell in love with Frances Liardet’s WWII novel

We Must Be Brave cover

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. It is a novel about courage and kindness, hardship and friendship – and the astonishing power of love.

We thought we’d show you just how much the voracious readers at the HarperCollins Australia offices have been loving Frances Liardet’s novel.

‘Not since The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society have time and place been such bewitching characters in a novel. Welcome to the small village of Upton, nestled in the downs just above Southampton. It is December 1940 and you are about to meet a set of characters with whom you’re going to fall intimately in love.

This is a world we think we know well through the many wartime stories we have read before, but the author has created something wonderful and unique here. Frances Liardet takes us into a world which might not exist anymore — where character is paramount, actions speak louder than words, memories are for a lifetime, and community is belonging. This is a gem of a story about courage, kindness, friendship and, ultimately, love and resilience. Oh, and you will need your tissues.’ – James Kellow, CEO


We Must Be Brave is wonderfully engaging and heartfelt. A terrific book that I just ate up in one sitting.’ – Brigitta


‘I loved this book. The characters, the sense of place, there was nothing I didn’t love about it. Sometimes we feel that there is nothing new that can be written about WWII in fiction and then along comes a book like We Must Be Brave. Completely different and engaging and heartbreaking.’ – Michael


‘I absolutely adored this book. Completely captivating. Love, grief, uncertainty, connection, loss, heartache, childhood trauma, and the lifelong impact of it — all so masterfully conceived and rendered. Incredible.’ – Mary-Jane


We Must Be Brave had my heart in its grip from beginning to end.’ – Kate


‘This is a moving story of family, community, but most of all, enduring love. The gorgeous writing will move you to tears but fill you with hope.’ – Thomas


‘A beautifully crafted novel of loss and longing.  While WWII makes a few sideline appearances, it’s the rich cast of characters that appeals, from the little girl found alone on the bus and the childless young wife, the elderly gardener at the local manor house and others — they all have secret memories or desires. It’s a novel to lose yourself in over a lazy day.’ – Sandra


We Must Be Brave cover We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

December, 1940. As German bombs fall on Southampton, the city’s residents flee to the surrounding villages. In Upton village, amid the chaos, newly-married Ellen Parr finds a girl sleeping, unclaimed at the back of an empty bus. Five-year-old Pamela, it seems, is entirely alone.

Ellen has always believed she does not want children, but when she takes Pamela into her home the child cracks open the past Ellen thought she had escaped and the future she had dreamed for herself. As the war rages on, love grows where it was least expected, surprising them all. But with the end of the fighting comes the realization that Pamela was never theirs to keep…

For anyone who loved All The Light We Cannot See and The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, We Must Be Brave is a luminous novel about the ways we can rescue one another, and the many different forms that courage can take.

Posted on February 28, 2019 by

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"Why we all fell in love with Frances Liardet’s WWII novel"

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