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"When We Were Brave," winner of this year's Best Historical Fiction Award in the Reader Views Literary Awards, opens in November 1943 with Germany slowly beginning to lose World War II. SS soldier Wilhelm Falk is in Italy and knows the Allies will soon capture him. To avoid being shot as a member of the SS, he trades clothes with a dead German soldier of low rank. As he hopes, he is captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp in the U.S. There he hopes to warn the world of the atrocities he's seen.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, young Izaak Tauber and his mother live in hiding after Izaak's father has been taken to a concentration camp. When they have to move to a new hiding place, they suddenly find themselves pursued by the Nazis and then stuck in a camp. Izaak doesn't really understand the war or the danger he and his mother face; he only hopes they'll get to go to the work camp where his father resides.
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And in the United States, the German-American Mueller family finds itself harassed by neighbors and then suspected of being German spies. When the FBI decides they could be working for the enemy, they quickly find their civil liberties being denied; first, their family is split up, and then they face deportation to war-torn Germany.
Tyler R. Tichelaar, winner of the 2009 Reader Views Best Historical Fiction Award for his novel "Narrow Lives" and the award sponsor since 2010, says of this year's award-winning novel, "'When We Were Brave' is one of the finest novels to have won this award. It speaks to today in its reminder of how quickly our basic human rights can be taken from us if we are not careful. Readers will find themselves deeply caring about these characters and haunted by the ending. Jay is a master at plotting and weaving her storylines into an extremely satisfying, cathartic experience for the reader."
"Reader Views receives thousands of books each year for review by self-published and small press authors. Its Annual Literary Awards recognize the very best of these up-and-coming authors. "When We Were Brave" joins a series of previous historical fiction winners on such diverse topics as eighteenth-century pirates, opera composers, the Civil War, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the founding of Louisiana.
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"When We Were Brave" has also won the Readers' Favorite Book Award and was a distinguished favorite of the NYC Big Book Award. The Prairies Book Review declares it a "heart-wrenching, engrossing historical read." Kirkus Reviews calls it "impressively ambitious," and Kelly Long of NetGalley Reviewer, states it is "One of the best WWII books I have read."
About the Author
Karla M. Jay lives with her family in Salt Lake City, Utah. She owns a learning center and volunteers to help children whenever she can. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling to as many countries as possible, always in search of another story to tell.
"When We Were Brave" (ISBN: 9780578477077, Book Circle Press, 2019) can be purchased through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit http://www.karlajay.com. Publicity contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Review copies available upon request.
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