When We Were Brave Kindle Edition
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2020 Pinnacle Book Award, Historical Fiction
2020 IPA Distinguished Favorite Award
2020 TYLER R. TICHELAAR AWARD for BEST HISTORICAL FICTION
2020 First Place Award, Historical Fiction for Reader's View Contest
2020 Book Excellence Award for Historical Fiction
2019 Distinguished Favorite for the New York City Big Book Award
2019 Silver Medal Winner, Historical Fiction, Readers Favorite Contest.
“Combining excellent historical research with a compelling storyline, the hard work of author Karla M. Jay really pays off the more deeply involved you become with the characters in her plot...As the plot threads and connections slowly come together, the conclusion marks the realities of war and sticks in your mind for a long time after.” ~ A Five Star MUST Read! -Susan Violante for Reader Views
When We Were Brave is not a novel about suffering, although suffering certainly makes up much of it. Rather, it is a novel about perseverance, the will to survive and push back against cruelty and death... It is what makes the novel exceptional and compelling. -Daniel Casey, San Francisco Book Review
Jay's…account is impressively ambitious, offering a sprawling view of the wages of war from three distinct perspectives. She ingeniously braids them into a coherent narrative tapestry, and along the way, she realistically describes the human degradation experienced by prisoners in the Nazi camps...Kirkus Reviews
Karla M. Jay's novel When We Were Brave employs a dramatic triangle to create a highly-emotional, epic story of World War II, one that is as vivid as it is highly personal. Here is a moving, riveting tale that shows you how things once were--and how similar those times can feel to our own. Scott Lasser - Author of Say Nice Things About Detroit, Screenwriter for HBO's True Detective Series
Great historical fiction teaches and entertains. When We Were Brave finds three little-remembered stories that beg to be heard. Told with vivid detail and meticulous research, these stories involve complex characters who demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit set against a backdrop of evil and tragedy. - Firoozeh Dumas, New York Times Bestselling author of Funny in Farsi, and Laughing Without an Accent
When We Were Brave is a vivid, heart-wrenching portrayal of holocaust years, as innocent victims grapple with loss, loneliness, and longing. The story is told from the perspective of three protagonists whose lives become entwined. The narrative is gripping and skillfully paced...With complex characters and intricate plotting, Jay delivers a heart-wrenching, engrossing historical read.”-The Prairies Book Review
"Jay demonstrates a mastery of emotion and landscape. The scenes are visceral, the dialogue is sharp and believable, and the narrators are immediately engrossing. For history enthusiasts, the level of detail, cultural accuracy, and research feels immersive. The world of the past spills out naturally, drawing readers into the relationships between these characters. When We Were Brave is a vivid portrait of a time and place with characters who are immediately recognizable." Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★
About the Author
- ASIN : B07QHGVPPN
- Publication date : April 14, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 4946 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 411 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #62,977 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Whether you're a history buff or just a lover of tales well told, read Karla Jay's book.
Wilhelm Falk fakes his death in order to be able to surrender to the Allies. He has been surreptitiously gathering incriminating evidence of Nazi horrors at the death camps during “visits” to each camp. He has posted photographs and other evidence to a pastor, a dear friend of his, in hopes that he can reclaim this information and turn it over to the Americans so that they can stop the killing of over 10,000 “undesirables” each day. His arduous journey is fraught with danger to him and to his family if his actions become known by the SS.
Izaak Tauber is a young half-Jewish boy, a Mischling, living in Amsterdam, Netherlands, whose father has been taken away to a “work” camp. His father asked him to take care of his mother until he could return to them. The two of them tried to leave via the resistance, but they were found out. Each day becomes another mountain of horror that they must endure. Izaak keeps on hoping that the situation will ease and that he and his family will be together again.
The third part of this story is about Herbert Müller and his family who farm in a small community in Pennsylvania. They are of German descent, Herbert’s father, Otto and his wife emigrated to American after the Great War. Herbert and his brother, who is serving in the Navy in the Pacific theater, were born on American soil. However, his father never became a citizen and the anti-German hysteria that believed that the family are spies changes their lives as no one in this day and age can imagine. I found this to be the most heart-breaking of all as an American, also of German-Irish descent. Although this happened long before my time, I feel responsible.
I found that this novel touched me as no other has. I felt the dismay, the helplessness, the absolute inability to make someone, anyone, listen to the truth. What a great book!
In this novel Karla demonstrates her rich understand of not only World War II and the horrors of war in general, but also a keen ability to visualize the Nazi concentration camps and the effect on all manner of people associated in some way with them. She blends three stories - a Jewish lad, an SS Officer, and a German-American family – intertwining them in a stunning manner. She manages to create credible characters about whom we care and for whom we breathlessly pledge hope for survival. Her ability to make the atrocious concentration camps visual is uncanny and immensely involving; in Karla’s hands the reader is there, decades ago, witnessing and learning about a war that changed the world.
The novel opens by introducing Wilhelm Falk: ‘Avellino, Italy November 11, 1943 – SS officer Sturmbannführer Wilhelm Falk kicked away the broken glass crunching under his boots in the shoemaker’s second-story apartment, the shards making faint clinking sounds as they struck the fireplace bricks. He studied the three dead German soldiers who’d never return home. The place Hitler claimed they fought to protect. Not fighting to defend the “Fatherland,” a vague term that didn’t motivate troops. The Führer, known to be more masterful and cunning, instilled fear on a personal level. He targeted the soldier’s family – the potential violation of his wife, the death of his children.’
In similar tones the lives of Izaak Tauber, the Jewish boy in the Netherlands, and the Herbert Müller family in Pennsylvania on that same November date – finding that line of connection that makes her story so impressively realistic. As the offered summary states, ‘We find a conflicted SS officer, Wilhelm Falk, who risks everything to escape the Wehrmacht and get out the message about the death camps. Izaak is a young Jewish boy whose positive outlook is challenged daily as each new perilous situation comes along. American citizens, Herbert Müller and his family, are sent back to the hellish landscape of Germany because of the DNA coursing through their veins. In the panorama of World War II, these are the high-stakes plots and endearing characters whose braided fates we pray will work out in the end.’
Rich in detail and obviously well-researched, this is one of the finest WW II novels that bears witness to the terrors about which we can never know enough if we are to assure such horrors never recur. This is a brilliant novel, very highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 19
Top reviews from other countries
Amsterdam 1943, Izaak Tauber 8yrs, his father had been taken away, their house was taken from them, a friend took them by truck, it was destroyed and they had to walk, they were stopped by police and sent to a camp, the camp was Westerbork where they would sleep in a large dormitory on bunk beds, after some time they were moved by cattle cart to Plasnow and given striped clothing
At the new camp they were to be part of German propaganda, the Red Cross were due to check on the conditions, there were Schools, Cafes, Houses, loads of extra food, it was completely transformed, when they left all were gassed, Izaak and his mother survived they were in a different part of camp, Izaak finds his father in a camp nearby
Pennysylvania November 1943, Herbert Muller and his family were German but had lived in America for many years, they were suspected of giving secrets to Germany, stones were thrown thrown through their windows, the family are to be swapped with an American family and they would have to try and live in Germany
All have one thing in common, to survive the war alive