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How To Be Brave

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4.26  ·  Rating details ·  485 ratings  ·  135 reviews
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
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Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published July 15th 2015 by ORENDA
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
From the very first line "How To Be Brave" was such an eloquently and beautifully written story. Truly mesmerising, I will never forget the impact it had on me whilst reading.
Blurb - 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 transp
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Jules

Beautifully written, emotional story that will stay with me for a long time!

This was a stunning read, and I don’t just mean in the shocking sense because I’m terrified of sharks. Before starting How to be Brave, little did I know how brave I was going to have to be. I’m so glad I didn’t know about the sharks beforehand, otherwise I might not have dared to read this beautiful book, which would have been a great shame, as it is easily one of the best books I have read this year so far.

How to be Br
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Liz Barnsley
It’s difficult to know where to begin with “How to be Brave”..there’s a whole history behind my love of this novel and a little bit of a thing. There was a time in my life recently and ongoing where I’ve had to be brave…during that time one of the things I did was some reading for my very good friend and the loveliest lady in the whole wide world, Karen Sullivan of Orenda books fame. She kept me busy in order to keep me sane – one of the things that landed was this. How to Be Brave, a debut from ...more
Christine
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How To Be Brave is not the typical book I go for. I try to avoid anything that sounds sentimental. Yet instead of being sentimental, I found myself incredibly moved by the whole story. It left me with feelings of hope. I was fascinated by the story of Colin and his adventures at sea.

The story goes back and forth, as we see present day Natalie and Rose and in the past twenty one year old, Colin. Natalie is a fairly ordinary mum, with a nine year old child. The father is in the background, away in
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Claire
How to be brave is a heartwarming and heart wrenching story all mixed in together. Natalie and Rose's story intertwined with the story of the man in the brown suit on a boat.

For me, it started off as a journey for a mother and daughter going through a life changing time with the diagnosis of Rose's diabetes. As I got further into the book, it became more about the crew's survival and whether they would be rescued. At times I was sat with Colin in the rocking boat in the rough Atlantic Ocean.

It's
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Helen
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Part fiction, part biography, this story can't be pigeon-holed into any particular genre. Louise Beech writes beautifully as she switches between now and WW2 with her fabulous story of survival, love that spans generations and amazing bravery all topped with a sprinkling of a ghost story and a suggestion of time travel.
I absolutely loved this book and didn't want it to end, the author has a rare gift - I was literally transported out to sea, I could almost taste the salt water and hear the wave
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Claire
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Claire by: Poppy
How to Be Brave isn't just a book you read, it's a story that you feel like you are living while reading, right down to sharing the symptoms and emotions of some of its characters. I didn't just read this book, I experienced it.

Natalie is the mother of 9 year old Rose, whose father Jake is in Afghanistan when Rose has a crisis which we learn is caused by a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. While they are in hospital both mother and daughter are visited and spoken to by a man, who reassures them and
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Tracy Fenton
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely beautiful and moving book with 2 intertwined stories which were both heart wrenching and emotional and felt so very real that I could easily feel Colin's bravery and Natalie's incredible strength dealing with Rose. Bravo Louise Beech a wonderful debut novel. Highly recommended by me. ...more
Laura Rash
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can’t hardly think of the right words to describe how this book made me feel. It’s a story of bravery & doing what you have to do to survive. Amazingly descriptive & a beautiful story.
Jack
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Natalie’s daughter faints following a month-long spell of unquenchable thirst, she’s rushed to the hospital with Natalie fearing the worst. Tests reveal both good and bad news. Her condition is treatable, but it’s still very serious. Type 1 diabetes requires endless finger prick tests and insulin injections, and, understandably, young Rose does not warm well to them. But it’s Natalie’s job to care for her daughter and the visit of a ghost, a strangely familiar presence, might be just what s ...more
Donna
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow this is a truly special book I actually feel bereft since I finished it. A clever story within a story that kept me captivated from beginning to end. Natalie and Jake are parents to 9 yr old Rose, while Jake is away in Afghanistan Natalies world is turned upside down. Rose is a feisty independent girl but when she is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes her anger becomes more prevalent. Refusing to have her regular finger pricks to monitor her glucose levels and her life saving insulin injections, ...more
Jaqui
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story well told

This is the second book I have read by this writer, the other being Maria In the Moon and I very much like how she writes about realistic characters who are easy to identify with.

Reading Maria in the Moon chimed with me in the first instance because I have worked on a crisis telephone helpline and this book chimed with me too because I identify with the difficulties of being diagnosed with diabetes something Rose and Natalie struggle with. But this book is so much more
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Karen
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on family accounts, letters, and newspaper articles together with her imagination, Louise has crafted a beautifully written novel using her grandfather Colin's story and her own personal experience with her daughter's illness.

With her soldier husband Jake so far away in Afghanistan, Natalie is feeling alone and helpless in having to deal with her young daughter Rose’s newly diagnosed condition. 9 year old Rose is not dealing with the situation well and her bad behaviour takes its toll on
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Sarah
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Natalie's world falls apart when her daughter Rose is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. From being diagnosed, Rose turns almost into a stranger to Natalie, she may look like her daughter but she now acts nothing like her. The things she used to love doing she no longer wants to do and she rebels against her treatment and is finding it very hard to adjust to these new changes in her life.

I have to admit to learning so much from this book. It really opened my eyes to an illness that I really knew ve
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Laurel
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very moving story.
Shirley Revill
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I just couldn't put down. Exceptional. Highly recommended. ...more
Melinda
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is an absolutely beautiful book. I'm not a fan of split narratives, however in this instance the alternating between past and present worked wonderfully. I'm also not a frequent reader of paranormal, yet again Beech masterfully knitted this into the narrative with perfection.

Beech's writing is stunning, penetrating. Considering Colin's story is fact based on his experience and journal entries makes it all the more moving and haunting. Beech's use of language emotionally grips her audience f
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Stephen Donovan
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book made for quite the emotional literary journey. It is supremely powerful, fantastical, and above all, beautifully written. When you add the fact that it is strongly based on the author's life and family history, it all amounts to a genuinely compelling and profound piece of storytelling.

The book contains two separate story lines, both extremely effective and impactful. They are linked together not only by the fierce power of storytelling that emanates throughout, but also by a n
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Kelly Van Damme
Full review: https://frombelgium.wixsite.com/withb...

How To Be Brave is the story of Rose and her mum Nathalie. When Rose faints and is taken to hospital, she is soon diagnosed with diabetes. Rose is only 9 years old, and the diagnosis comes as a shock, to her as well as her mum. Her dad works in the military and isn’t around, so it’s Nathalie who has to deal with the aftermath. Quite the stubborn personality, she finds it hard to accept any outside help, let alone ask for it. Her despair, her p
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Kath Middleton
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great concept for a book this is. Young Rose, aged nine, is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while her soldier father is away on a long tour and her mum, Natalie, has to cope with it alone. To persuade her daughter to allow her to do the blood tests and injections, Natalie ‘bribes’ her with a family story of her own grandfather’s time in the war.

Rose is a great little character, self-willed and often driven by the disease she’s battling. Natalie is real, flawed, hating what she has to do to
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Kim Ebner
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please check out my book blog at www.thebuzzingbookmark.com

This book is part memoir, part autobiography and part fiction novel. It's a beautifully crafted tale in which the author tells the story of her grandfather, Colin, who survived the sinking of his battleship and survived on a raft out at sea, and the story of her daughter's diabetes diagnosis, and the effect it had on their lives and their relationship.

After finishing Sweetpea (by C.J Skuse) a few days ago, which I absolutely loved and wh
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Phoebe
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 in which an ancestor survived 50 days before being rescued.

After meeting Louise at an event for her new book Call Me Star Girl and h
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Jackie Law
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How to be Brave, by Louise Beech, is a book that I nearly gave up on. I am glad that I did not. When I had read the first hundred pages, the length of time I give a book to grab me, all I could see was the kind of self-absorbed mother I know only too well. Her daughter was behaving like a brat yet she appeared unable to look beyond her precious little snowflake, wronged by a world too blind to recognise such unique wonderfulness and therefore ready to indulge misbehaviour. Is there any mother wh ...more
Tripfiction
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Novel set in the Atlantic (Uplifting and Compelling)

Rose, aged 9, collapses and Diabetes 1 is diagnosed. Rose’s great-grandfather is adrift on the Atlantic ocean. This is an uplifting book about how what is important in life and survival through exceptionally hard times.

This brilliant book commences with the diagnosis of Rose, and her mother’s struggle to cope with the medical regime alone. She needs help, as does Rose, and they find it in the amazing story of Rose’s great grandfather (Colin) st
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Thebooktrail
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How to be brave booktrail

1943 – The power of stories and how they can help us make sense of difficult times

Prepare for tissues. You would never think that a story of illness merged with a story of sailors abandoned at sea would work but this does and more. It is about how one story can inspire hope in another and how bravery and grit comes in many different forms. A poor young girl with Type 1 diabetes and her mother who tries everything in addition to her treatment, to try and make things bette
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Rebecca Stonehill
How is a nine year old girl, diagnosed with diabetes connected with a ghost from the past, a man who survives a gruelling ordeal upon a lifeboat after his ship is torpedoed during WW2? That is what this beautifully written, moving story sets out to explore. Expertly weaving back and forth between well-researched historical fact and fiction, the past and the present day, Louise Beech takes us on a journey in which a story is exchanged for blood, a powerful and haunting metaphorical image. I was g ...more
Rosemary
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With her military husband away in Afghanistan, Natalie finds herself dealing with the sudden onset of type 1 diabetes in her 9-year-old daughter Rose. Rose's insulin-affected mood swings make life very difficult until they discover the diary of Natalie's grandfather Colin, who spent weeks adrift at sea after his ship was torpedoed during World War II. Natalie begins telling Rose his story, and they both feel his presence guiding their lives.

This is a simple story, but it packs a big emotional pu
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Nic
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 enjoyable stars.

For some reason I didn’t enjoy this as much as others. Whilst it was an enjoyable book, well written, I also found it slow going at times.

Colin’s story was brilliant and the writing is such that you really feel that you are on that boat.

But I just couldn’t gel with the supernatural part of the story, and also I found Rose and Natalie (sorry) quite unlikeable and a bit annoying.

Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: January 18th 2020


"You have to know how to be sad to know how to be happy and if you know both of those things you'll know how to be brave."

(view spoiler)
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Katherine Sunderland
The book is about Rose who is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she is nine. Her mother, Natalie, struggles to help Rose come to terms with this life long condition, as well as accepting it herself. Then they both start to receive visits from a hauntingly familiar figure, a man in a brown suit. They discover a book from 1943 which tells an extraordinary tale and in time, gives them the strength to come to terms with the challenges life has thrown at them and what it means to be brave.

My brothe
...more
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Louise's debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers' pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian's Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon 'quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt'. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was d ...more

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