When We Were Young and Brave

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When We Were Young and Brave

By: Hazel Gaynor

HarperCollins Publisher

Willian Morrow

Gistorical Fiction

Publish Date October 2020

I would like to first thank the publisher and Good Reads for giving me the opportunity for reading and reviewing this book.

Good Reads Synopsis:

Their motto was to be prepared, but nothing could prepare them for war. . .

The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home sets her unforgettable new novel in China during WWII, inspired by true events surrounding the Japanese Army’s internment of teachers and children from a British-run missionary school.

China, December 1941. Having left an unhappy life in England for a teaching post at a missionary school in northern China, Elspeth Kent is now anxious to return home to help the war effort. But as she prepares to leave China, a terrible twist of fate determines a different path for Elspeth, and those in her charge.

Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School, protected by her British status. But when Japan declares war on Britain and America, Japanese forces take control of the school and the security and comforts Nancy and her friends are used to are replaced by privation, uncertainty and fear. Now the enemy, and separated from their parents, the children look to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – to provide a sense of unity and safety.

Faced with the relentless challenges of oppression, the school community must rely on their courage, faith and friendships as they pray for liberation – but worse is to come when they are sent to a distant internment camp where even greater uncertainty and danger await . . .

Inspired by true events, When We Were Young and Brave is an unforgettable novel about impossible choices and unimaginable hardship, and the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher in a remote corner of a terrible war.


I received this book as a giveaway from Good Reads and should have review this book over a year ago. I am late but here it is.

I gave this book 4 stars. I was floored on what I learned by reading this book. It is at times hard to read. This book is about the second world war which takes place in China. The two main characters is a young girl named Nancy and her teacher, Elspeth.

The school where they are at is taken over by the Chinese soldiers. They have to learn to how to deal with them and their lessons. They are moved several times. That is the easy part of the story the hard part is how they are treated. There are some really rough spots in this story so you need to be aware of them as you read. There is animal brutality, sexual assault and rough treatment all around.

I thought I knew a lot about this war but I never knew this story about a boarding school in china and how the children were treated. The children didn’t know what was happening to their parents and even if they would ever see them again. This is a heart felt story and one I feel should be read because we are still learning about things from this war that we haven’t known.

I just love how Hazel does her research about her topics and brings them to life. This book brought tears to my eyes and I couldn’t put it down.

Published by debbierpayne

Mother of six and Grandmother of 7. I enjoy reading, sewing, cooking, and crocheting. I am an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

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