Review 1613: O, The Brave Music

Seven-year-old Ruan Ashley leads a bleak existence. Her unhappy mother seems to care little for her, preferring her sister Sylvia. Her father is a dour nonconformist minister. They have little money and live in a poor area of a Yorkshire factory town. Ruan is misunderstood, a dreamer who loves reading, especially poetry, and thirsts for beauty.

Things look up when Rosie, the daughter of a wealthy factory owner, comes to visit with David, a boy Rosie’s father has adopted. They take her for a visit to their home up in the moors, where she and David run wild. Family illness calls for her to remain there for the summer.

Ruan’s life becomes one of loss, but it is also mixed with some times of great contentment. Daring it all, she remains herself, a person who refuses to conform to expectation.

This novel is touching as well as lyrical. It is a true ode to life, written in 1940 and looking back 40 years.

I received this book from the publishers in exchange for a free and fair review.

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Lolly Willowes


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8 thoughts on “Review 1613: O, The Brave Music

  1. Liz Dexter February 11, 2021 / 2:33 pm

    I really loved this one, so absorbing and satisfying.

  2. Davida Chazan February 12, 2021 / 1:29 am

    Looks like I’m going to be spoiled for choice if I ever get to the British Library store!

    • whatmeread February 12, 2021 / 10:01 am

      I’m guessing, although they just started the British Women Writers series. But of course they have the crime series and other books.

  3. Simon T February 20, 2021 / 2:40 pm

    Glad you liked it!

  4. eileennc February 26, 2021 / 11:07 am

    I loved this book! The recommendation came from this site so many, many thanks!!

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