The Brave Daughters by Mary Wood

This epic WWII story delivers hope through the horrors of war, as a new generation takes up arms against the enemy of freedom.


I’m delighted to be invited to review this thrilling new World War II story by best-selling writer Mary Wood, the author of the Girls Who Went To War series. The first three books follow the fortunes of Flora, Ella and Mags and their friends as they find love through adversity during the frightening years of WWI.

Now, in a new stand-alone story, The Brave Daughters, the next generation of young women must prove every bit as brave and resilient as their mothers as the world goes to war again, and they enlist in the various forces.

Sisters, Florrie, Daisy and Rosie join the nursing profession, while cousins Sibbie and Marjie enlist in the WAAF. But they have language skill that see them recruited by the Special Operations Executive and trained for the most dangerous job of all. Not even their mothers must know that they are working in France as undercover agents.

The narrative follows them all on their adventures, on the Home Front and overseas.

While Daisy and Florrie head for Singapore, Rosie remains at home tending wounded soldiers. What will happen when she falls in love with a German prisoner-of-war? Surely heartbreak lies ahead. Meanwhile her sisters face very real danger as the Japanese advance on Singapore. Will the three ever be together again?

Danger and heartbreak

Over in France, Sibbie and Marjie are reunited with some of the menfolk of their family as they take up arms with the French resistance to help rid the country of the Nazi invaders. Highly trained in the art of war, they do and see things that will haunt them forever. But their duty is to their country, and they must not flinch from carrying out their orders, no matter the danger or heartbreak it brings to them and to the men they love.

As the story follows all the girls on their courageous journeys, the terrible things they face are described in unflinching detail. But though scenes of rape and torture don’t always make for easy reading, thankfully the strong themes of friendship, family ties and romance help relieve the horror.

Their stories – and that of their mothers and aunts as they go through their own fresh wartime trials – are told in such meticulous detail that you almost feel you are there with them, not just on the wards or the warships or in their French hideouts, but at the tearooms and the dance halls and the loving homes where they can occasionally retreat to, to find solace and comfort with friends and family before bravely going forth to do battle again.

You’ll cry buckets

Mary Wood confides the inspiration for this story was that bravest of women, WWI nurse Edith Cavell, and certainly her research for both WWI in her previous books and for WWII in this one, is impeccable. Whether on the Home Front or abroad, her narrative immerses you in the wartime years so convincingly you’ll think you’re there, sharing the tension, danger and fear of her brave heroines – and let’s not forget the heroes. Paulo, Will, Albie, Cyrus, Arnie, Billy – they, too have their part to play in bringing down the enemy.

What I found particularly convincing was that Mary Wood’s characters, strong and determined as each is, is not afraid to show fear or emotion. These women know that courage and duty means nothing without friendship, love, and family, and they support each other every step on the way to a new hard-fought peace.

Of course, there are casualties on the way, and you’ll cry buckets from time to time. But if you’re looking for a story that describes the resilience, courage and dignity of women bound by friendship and blood, then The Brave Daughters is for you.

Good to Know …

The first three book in The Girls Who Went To War series are The Forgotten Daughter, The Abandoned Daughter and The Wronged Daughter. You’ll meet all the characters from them in The Brave Daughters. Though it’s not necessary to read them to enjoy The Brave Daughters – you soon get to know Florrie, Ella, Mags and all their friends – I’d recommend you read them, too, just for the sheer pleasure of catching up with their stories and appreciating just how they passed on their bravery, loyalty and love to the next generation.

The Brave Daughters is published by Pan in paperback, RRP £7.99


About the author

Mary Wood began her career writing northern sagas along the lines of Catherine Cookson, whom she loved and admired. She’s now branched out and writes thrilling novels with a wartime setting – discover more about her and her books at  and subscribe to her newsletter for the chance to win signed copies.

Follow Mary on Twitter @authormary  and on Facebook




Thanks so much to Pan MacMillan and Mary Wood for inviting me to review this book and to NetGalley for the advance copy.


  • Mary Wood
    Posted at 10:46h, 21 May Reply

    Thank you, Karen. Your review means so much to me. I am proud to read what you have written about my book and to know that you enjoyed reading it.

    I have been honoured in the past to feature in both the magazines where you spent your career, and much admire your work and reviews on here.

    I now feel enthused to keep going, to strive to build my name and to get my books into the ranks of those at the top of my genre. Thank you again for hosting me and for your wonderful words about my work. My very best wishes, Mary x

    • Karen Byrom
      Posted at 13:49h, 21 May Reply

      You are so welcome, Mary – I’m always excited to read your books and I was delighted to review this one on my own blog. It’s lovely to get such a wonderful reaction from your many fans, too – it looks like another best-seller!

  • Beverley Ann Hopper
    Posted at 11:26h, 21 May Reply

    This is beautiful thank you karen

  • Judith Spencer
    Posted at 11:27h, 21 May Reply

    Fabulous review.

  • Anna Saul
    Posted at 11:31h, 21 May Reply

    Great, great a blog and review -I am loving it myself

  • Lainey Rowley
    Posted at 11:32h, 21 May Reply

    Love the intrigue, cannot put the book down until I can see they are safe or happy before starting for a new chapter. Xxxxxx

  • Jacqueline Pennells
    Posted at 11:38h, 21 May Reply

    What a great review. I cannot wait to read it. X

  • Pauline Totten
    Posted at 11:41h, 21 May Reply

    Lovely review can’t wait to read it

  • Sue Bellwood
    Posted at 11:41h, 21 May Reply

    Brilliant review for a brilliant author. Thank you Karen, you have done Mary proud! x

  • Diane Cunningham
    Posted at 11:49h, 21 May Reply

    A great blog

  • Jane Brock
    Posted at 11:50h, 21 May Reply

    Looking forward to reading this series

  • Lynn Dobbins
    Posted at 11:57h, 21 May Reply

    Great review xx

  • Margaret Craw
    Posted at 11:59h, 21 May Reply

    Fantastic review and blog this book is definitely on my shopping list xxx

  • Karen Willis
    Posted at 12:08h, 21 May Reply

    Fantastic review for a fantastic author. I have NEVER been disappointed with Mary Wood’s books. Love them all!

    • Ann Downing
      Posted at 13:54h, 21 May Reply

      Such a lovely review Karen. This is the next book on my list to read.

  • Janette Fletcher
    Posted at 12:20h, 21 May Reply

    Fab review for a fab autbor

  • Patricia Humm
    Posted at 12:22h, 21 May Reply

    Wonderful blog great book from a brilliant author

  • Elizabeth Stanton
    Posted at 12:30h, 21 May Reply

    Love Mary wood books and can’t wait to read more.

  • Clare Wall
    Posted at 12:32h, 21 May Reply

    Look forward to reading.

  • Deborah Goy
    Posted at 12:33h, 21 May Reply

    Just started this book and finding it very hard to put it down.

  • Judy Haynes
    Posted at 12:38h, 21 May Reply

    What a wonderful review , I have loved this series of Mary’s Books and so looking forward to reading this one , which I am just about to do now xx

  • Elaine Fryatt
    Posted at 12:40h, 21 May Reply

    Super blog.

  • Sinead Egerton
    Posted at 13:24h, 21 May Reply

    Beautiful written books love reading Mary Woods books very special author

    • Moira manson
      Posted at 13:54h, 21 May Reply

      Fantastic review xxx

  • Heather Copping
    Posted at 14:00h, 21 May Reply

    Great review. Certainly makes you want to read this book and the others in the series.

  • Jen Addley
    Posted at 14:06h, 21 May Reply

    Aw, this is a great review.

  • Janice Campbell
    Posted at 14:08h, 21 May Reply

    A lovely review

  • Antoinette
    Posted at 14:32h, 21 May Reply

    I find if you start to read Mary’s books you can Not put them down brilliant reading .Yes tears as well ,super blog.

  • Lynda Checkley
    Posted at 14:34h, 21 May Reply

    Lovely review. Thank you

  • Chrissy Dawes
    Posted at 15:34h, 21 May Reply

    Well done another great book.

  • Mary Wood
    Posted at 07:00h, 22 May Reply

    Thank you again, Karen, and everyone, you have made my heart sing and encouraged me on as I am engrossed in writing the third of my next series set in Bermondsey, London, in 1911 – 19…. not sure yet, but am now in the First World War, period, and going through the usual emotions as my new family, Elsie, Dot and Millie, are torn by the ravishes of deep love and of war. The first; The Jam Factory Girls, is out in Nov/Dec 2020. Much love to all x

    • Karen Byrom
      Posted at 09:27h, 22 May Reply

      Thanks, Mary, I’m looking forward to this one already.

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