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Braver by Deborah Jenkins – Book Review

Deborah Jenkins has written a corker of a book and it’s out next week. Braver is published by Fairlight Books. Here’s my review:

I loved this uplifting, emotional and profoundly moving book. Deborah Jenkins has created characters with great depth and authenticity. Hazel is a loner; she has always found life difficult and found it hard to ‘get’ other people. People have generally avoided her, and with a difficult past and a domineering mother, she has struggled through life. But things change when she meets Virginia, her local vicar, and some of the people who go to her church. Hazel finds herself unexpectedly welcomed into and swept up in community, something she’s never had before.

Hazel is so believable as an awkward, lonely woman with OCD, with her obsessive habits and rituals that get her through the day. Her friendship with the others, especially young Harry, who lives with an alcoholic, neglectful mother and faces bullying at school, is well-drawn and heart-warming. When Virginia faces a false accusation of abuse, her community gather around her to support her, with Hazel and Harry swept up in the love and friendship offered by this diverse community.

The author writes beautifully, I wanted to go back and read so many moments she’d captured in such great poetic prose. She has a knack of seeing deep into the human condition and taking the reader there with her – there are moments of recognition when you realise that she is articulating something that can’t quite be articulated. This is a book full of heart, honesty, and ultimately, hope, and I enjoyed every minute.

I also loved the gentle Christian content – there was no preachiness, just a kind and warm view of a Christian community. I think Deborah really hit the right balance for a mainstream novel, with a warm invitation to readers but without any kind of pushy agendas. I give Braver five stars 🙂

Braver is out on June 30th and you can pre-order it now on Amazon.

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