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13 Feb 3:58am

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet review – a child in wartime

The Guardian
Parental love is at the heart of a story grounded in the details of everyday life in an English village during the second world war Domestic stories of women’s lives in wartime are common in genre publishing but rarer in literary fiction. From the off, Frances Liardet’s second novel, published 25 years after her first, distances itself from nostalgia and insists on its own terms. The writing is often dazzling – a child’s voice is “clear, piping, like a twig peeled of its bark” – and this, too, lifts what might have been a sentimental story into different territory altogether. It is 1940 and a busload of bombed-out civilians from Southampton has arrived in the village of Upton, where Ellen Parr and her much older husband Selwyn, a miller with whom she has what’s described as a
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