On the eve of World War II, Elspeth Kent and young Nancy Plummer meet aboard a deliver as they travel to Chefoo School, a missionary school in northern China. Nancy is already homesick for her family, in particular her mother, even as Elspeth has come to teach and reinvent herself, having lost the man she hoped to marry in a mining accident. A few years later, in 1941, Elspeth is prepared to return to England when the Japanese navy takes manipulate of the school after the assault on Pearl Harbor. Inspired via true events, When We Were Young & Brave tells the tale of what happens to Elspeth, Nancy and the relaxation of the college’s students and staff all through the war.
The contemporary novel from bestselling English creator Hazel Gaynor (The Girl Who Came Home) is paying homage to J.G. Ballard’s effective traditional Empire of the Sun, based on his very own reviews as a boy in China after World War II. When We Were Young & Brave is instructed in alternating chapters by Elspeth and Nancy, as each tries valiantly to keep an mindset of stoic optimism. Once the school organization is moved to a massive internment camp, they suffer malnutrition, disorder and more. In the face of all this, Elspeth and the relaxation of the staff provide heroic solace to their charges, persevering with with lessons, sports and Girl Guide meetings, looking to impart as a good deal structure, normalcy and distraction as possible. The narration flows smoothly, complete of massive and small moments: an adopted kitten, sunflower seeds planted as an act of reminiscence and hope, the worsening contamination of Nancy’s satisfactory friend and a Chinese new child who needs care. Years pass until eventual liberation, and Gaynor excels at describing the rhythms of this tough each day life.
Readers will quickly discover themselves immersed in When We Were Young & Brave, which, no matter its challenge matter, is an uplifting, hopeful story of camaraderie in the face of hardship and danger.