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Penguin: Putnam Trade Spring 2019

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We Must Be Brave
By (author): Frances Liardet
9780735218864 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Historical / General Feb 26, 2019
$36.00 CAD
Active 6.22 x 9.27 x 1.44 in 464 pages Putnam G.P. Putnam's Sons
THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER

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.

“This stirring debut will work its way indelibly into your heart.”—Georgia Hunter, author of We Were the Lucky Ones


A woman. A war. The child who changed everything.

December 1940. In the disorderly evacuation of Southampton, England, newly married Ellen Parr finds a small child asleep on the backseat of an empty bus. No one knows who little Pamela is.

Ellen professed not to want children with her older husband, and when she takes Pamela into her home and rapidly into her heart, she discovers that this is true: Ellen doesn’t want children. She wants only Pamela. Three golden years pass as the Second World War rages on. Then one day Pamela is taken away, screaming. Ellen is no stranger to sorrow, but when she returns to the quiet village life she’s long lived, she finds herself asking: In a world changed by war, is it fair to wish for an unchanged heart?

In the spirit of We Were the Lucky Ones and The Nightingale, here is a novel about courage and kindness, hardship and friendship, and the astonishing power of love.

Story Locale: Southampton, England, and surrounding villages

BESTSELLING CATEGORY: We Must Be Brave is historical fiction at its most satisfying and will be the perfect next book for fans of sweeping World War II fiction. It holds the powerful emotional notes and moving family storytelling that’s made novels like The Nightingale, The Women in the Castle, Lilac Girls, We Were the Lucky Ones, and The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir such big hits.

BREAKOUT AND BOOK CLUB POTENTIAL: Packed with nuanced writing about marriage, love, motherhood, poverty, community, and war, this novel is perfect for book clubs and on-trend with the big fiction of the past few years. It’s the kind of sweeping, emotional fiction readers crave.

STUNNING PROSE: Frances Liardet is an award-winning author and her writing is truly gorgeous. Pamela feels like a living, breathing child, all stubbornness and delight, and the English countryside and village life bustle around you on the page. The quality of writing here will be a strong hook for readers and for review coverage.

FASCINATING HISTORY: The novel begins with the real-life bombing of Southampton in November and December of 1940, known as “Southhampton’s Blitz.” Liardet, who is British, opens wide the English mindset at the time to explore what this violence meant for the people of Southampton and the surrounding villages, painting a portrait of England at a time of catastrophic change.

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN: We will publish simultaneously with Fourth Estate/HarperCollins in the UK.

Frances Liardet is a child of children of the Second World War. She has an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia and studied Arabic at Oxford, before traveling to Cairo to translate modern Egyptian novelists, including Naguib Mahfouz and Edwar al-Kharrat. Liardet currently lives in Somerset, England, with her husband and daughter, and helps to run a summer writing session called Bootcamp. We Must Be Brave is her American debut.

Author Residence: Somerset, England

Marketing: National print campaign

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“Be prepared to surrender—to Liardet’s gorgeous prose, her haunting storyline, and the question that will lodge in your heart long after you’ve finished: What would I have done? For anyone who has ever loved a child, this stirring debut will work its way indelibly into the folds of your memory, and of your heart.”—Georgia Hunter, author of We Were the Lucky Ones

“This is storytelling at its best. Wise, generous and captivating.” - Sarah Winman, author of Tin Man

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