When We Were Brave by Karla M. Jay

Karla M. Jay
Book Circle Press (2019)
ISBN 9780578477077
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (02/2020)

“When We Were Brave” by Karla M. Jay takes readers by the hand into the WWII era through the lives of an SS Officer who plots against Hitler and his death camps, a Jewish boy’s holocaust journey as he  hopes to be reunited with his father, and the Muller family, as they realize that being American citizens is not enough in the US if you are of German origin.

These stories are presented in a vignette format where the reader can follow along the parallel journeys through each vignette/chapter. I loved how these stories show how WWII’s scope goes beyond borders and continents, affecting people far away from the battle zone, showing what the reality is when speaking of a ‘world war.’ The stories also show readers how ordinary people discover what they are made of as they are forced to face unthinkable circumstances that are beyond of their control. How can you plan your next move, when in the next second your circumstances look totally different? That is what these characters had to live through. As the daughter of WWII Italian war survivors, I appreciated the German point of view and felt each day of their experience to the bone.

Karla M. Jay does an amazing job presenting three stories in one. Well written, captivating, and presented in a way that flows effortlessly for readers. As an author on WWII myself, I know first-hand how difficult it is to write and research, and I take my hat off to Jay for her impeccable writing, accurate research, and personable voice which allowed me as a reader to experience each story as if I was there.

I loved “When We Were Brave” by Karla M. Jay and found it an endearing, suspenseful, heart wrenching, and thought-provoking experience. Readers will be captivated from beginning to end, finding very hard to put down this powerful story. A Five Star MUST Read!

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