The Brave is a captivating, multi-layered story that I greatly enjoyed. I looked forward to doing the dishes every day just so I could hear the next part of the story. That is one of the joys of audiobooks, I often feel like I am a housewife of the past listening to my “stories” on the radio!
The Brave starts out with a bang. Young Tom Bedford is visiting his mother for the last time. It is the day of her execution in the gas chamber for an untold crime. Young Tom asks his mother to tell the “truth,” but she refuses and they make their final farewells.
The story then flashes to present day. Tom Bedford is now a middle aged professor living in Montana. He has an estranged wife and son, and isn’t as successful as he would like to be. Tom’s son Daniel is fighting in Iraq and is soon embroiled in a military scandal. Daniel comes home to be put on a trial for his life for a crime that he says he didn’t commit. With his son facing possible death by execution for a crime, Tom flashes back to the past and the life that led up to his mother’s execution.
I loved this novel. The last time I read a Nicholas Evans’ novels was The Horse Whisperer in the 1990’s. I definitely need to look up the novels he has written between these two books as he is one heck of a storyteller. I figured out how the book would end early on, but the journey was how Evans got the story to that point, and it was riveting.
I liked that Tom Bedford was a young English boy, but that he had a great love for all things Western. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I loved the books insight into westerns, 1950’s Hollywood, and the Iraq War. It was also thought provoking how Tom realized that there were decisions in life that may seem small at the time, but can have terrible consequences. He had to learn not to suffer thinking about these decisions and to move on with life.
The Brave audiobook was read by Michael Emerson. I am a huge fan of Lost and loved Emerson’s portrayal of Benjamin Linus on the show. I must admit that when I first started listening to this book, I felt like it was slightly menacing hearing “Ben” narrate the story. As I continued to listen, I thought of it more as the alternate world kindly teacher Ben narrating the story. And I may have started to picture Tom Bedford looking like Michael Emerson. I am ready to watch a movie version of this novel with Michael Emerson in the lead role! That being said, I thought Emerson did a good job as the reader of the novel, but as a fan of Lost, it did play into my perceptions of the novel until the story caught me so much that I didn’t care anymore.
Overall, this was a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great story.
Book Source: Review Copy from Hachette Book Group. Thank-you!