I read Braver as a new book review copy, keeping an open mind as this is not a genre I would normally choose. Braver, however, has turned this around, demonstrating the power of a simple story involving seemingly unremarkable people. It’s told with a powerful intelligence and absolute conviction of people’s inner strengths and had me hooked from the start.
The story revolves around three ordinary individuals, for whom everyday life is compromised by traumatic events and lingering fears: Hazel’s acute anxiety, Harry’s home and school life, and Virginia’s struggles with her past and burdens of the present.
The characters are deftly crafted, evolving as the novel progresses from the roots of their differing pasts. Each is treated with empathy and respect, and without judgement, letting them speak for themselves.
Hazel’s anxiety is particularly well handled, especially considering such a complex range of difficulties. However, all the characters stand out as engaging and beautifully human individuals.
Deborah Jenkins writes with a light touch, illuminating the story and characters through moments of brilliant imagery. Through her skill and elevated prose she roots the reader in the tender reality of the everyday.
‘It’s a drab day with a sky the colour of lead and the kind of spring chill that makes you sulk. Of course it is.’
Demonstrating the power of a simple story, Braver by Deborah Jenkins is a study in humanity and an unadulterated joy to read.
Published by Fairlight Books, Braver is released on 30th June 2022.