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When We Were Brave

A Completely Gripping and Emotional WW2 Historical Novel
Narrated by: Alison Campbell
Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

Non-member price: $34.76

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Publisher's Summary

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...

Cornwall, 1944: 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 II, it throws her into a world of confusion. Because, as she learns about this secret relative, she quickly realizes 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 audiobook about love, heartbreak and betrayal set in World War II Britain and France. Perfect for fans of The Nightingale, Under a Scarlet Sky, and My Name is Eva

Listeners love Suzanne Kelman: 

"A heart-wrenching story of ordinary people elevated to the realm of heroes through love and sacrifice...It is an emotional journey of heartache and love that will leave you in tears. One of the finest books I have ever read." (NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars)

"Oh my goodness! Evocatively unsettling yet hauntingly beautiful...the story is incredibly powerful...I read this book with bated breath. I cried, I grieved and I hoped...I was left both heartbroken and satisfied. Suzanne Kelman...has floored me with this book." (Robin Loves Reading, 5 stars)

"A captivating story of love, friendships and hope for the future. It’s written with such depth that the characters and settings come alive before your eyes." (Chells and Books, 5 stars)

"Heartbreaking...Make sure to have your box of tissues at the ready while you read this beautifully told story!" (Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars) 

©2020 Suzanne Kelman (P)2020 Bookouture

What members say

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  • paula wright
  • 06-04-2020

One of THE best ww11 spy novels with 4 main characters

This book grieved me so much and I dare anybody NOT to cry in chapter 25. I never lost interest and it showed what we deem ordinary people taking all types of dangerous chances to live free. Little known resistance groups Regular citizens. It is a great love story on two fronts. But I won’t say more. You will not be disappointed. I already listened to her debut novels. So so good. Please write more of this genre. Most favorite subject

7 people found this helpful

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  • Yvonne Vankosky
  • 31-03-2020

Exciting, passionate and heartbreaking.

I was drawn to listen to this book because I had listened to “A View Across the Rooftops” by this author. I loved that one so much I decided to give this author another try. I was not disappointed. The narration is impeccable! Alison Campbell is my favourite narrator. As I said in the title of this review, this story is exciting, passionate and heartbreaking all at the same time. I cried at the end listening to the passion portrayed by the narrator to help me feel what the characters were feeling. A satisfying listen.

4 people found this helpful

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  • gail bove
  • 30-04-2020

Enjoyable but contrived

I enjoyed listening to this book, but I felt the story was a bit contrived.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carolyn Covello
  • 22-04-2020

Excellent story of love and espionage; Joe

This book is very well written and captivating. The back and forth in time was not a distraction and there was enough mystery to it about who the principal characters really were.
A very good read and listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • cmceng14
  • 16-04-2020

Get this book!

Loved this book so much and the narrator was wonderful! I hope this author continues to write more!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dorothy Rusignuolo
  • 23-05-2020

Too long

I struggled to listen and finish it this one
The narrator was terrific though.

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  • Henwhisperer
  • 16-05-2020

Good parts and not so good parts

I’m noticing a trend in some books I listen to. Conflicted women who live their lives not understanding that feelings are not instructions. The narrator was good most of the time but French accents are not her forte.

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  • Pamela McAllister
  • 15-05-2020

Wonderful & heartbreaking

What fantastic story. The narrator was incredibly good. I loved all the main characters. You not be sorry you listened to When We Were Brave.

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  • Nicole
  • 12-05-2020

Spies, Love, Grief, Heartbreak and Mystery

What I enjoyed was the very descriptive writing (but not overly) that allowed the listener to "see" Cornwall, London and Paris and be able to "see" the characters as if looking at a photograph. Beautifully done without dragging down the flow of the book.
I really enjoy novels that give different perspectives and this novel did this through the eyes of today and the eyes of WWII from the two main characters.
Some chapters were brutal in the sadness that erupted from within, but thankfully there was more mystery and love than sadness throughout.
I thought it was a fairly good mystery although somewhat dragged out, that led to a rather interesting story - I try to remember it's the journey not the destination. I am sure most will, like I did, figure out the ending long before - but enjoy the journey that can lead to self discovery, forgiveness, and love.
Well spent credit, really enjoyed the narration and the story. Well done.

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  • Maria Kenney
  • 05-05-2020

loved it!

Compliments to the voice actor!! She performed with so much emotion and kept me engaged. I didnt want to turn the book off!

The book was good. I liked the twists and turns that came up during the story and my heart broke with the ending. overall a good read/listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-03-2020

So moving

This was a very moving story of love and war and sacrifice.We must never forget what so many did for our peace today.A well written and read book.Very emotional at the end.

1 person found this helpful