Sunday 4 October 2015

Blog tour: How to be Brave by Louise Beech

How to be Brave by Louise Beech
Publisher: Orenda Books    
Release date: 17 September 2015
Rating: ****
Back cover blurb: All the stories died that morning … until we found the one we’d always known. When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued. Poignant, beautifully written and tenderly told, How To Be Brave weaves together the contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child’s life with an extraordinary true account of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War. A simply unforgettable debut that celebrates the power of words, the redemptive energy of a mother’s love … and what it really means to be brave.

How to be Brave is a beautifully written debut novel detailing a young girl's diagnosis of a life long medical condition and how her family cope with the changes suddenly thrust upon them.

Rose and Natalie are preparing for Halloween when Rose suddenly collapses, after being rushed to hospital, Natalie faces an agonising wait to discover what is wrong with her only daughter, and if her house has burnt down (she can't remember extinguishing a candle in her haste to leave).

Rose is subsequently diagnosed with Diabetes, a condition at first, that both Mother and Daughter struggle to cope with. Particularly with the absence of Natalie's husband and Rose's father, who is away serving with the Military.

There were times during the novel where I wanted to shake Rose a little and tell her that she should be grateful that her Mother cared for and was concerned for her, but I couldn't help but wonder what it is like to be diagnosed with such a condition at such an age.

I myself suffer with a chronic (life long and incurable) medical condition, but I was diagnosed in my late twenties, having suffered symptoms since my early twenties, at that age, you what life throws at you, and learn to get on with things. If you don't, no body else is going to do it for you - but I couldn't help but wonder if I might have behaved liked Rose had I been diagnosed at a younger age.  

But How to Be Brave is much more than just a story about how to deal with the cards that life dealt you, there is a true family mystery at its heart.

I am the last stop on the blog tour, but you can check out the others here;
How to be Brave is available from Amazon online and all good books shops.
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Thank you to the publishers who sent me an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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