The Bravest Soldiers

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
432 Pages
Reviewed on 10/17/2023
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Author Biography

I read and write historical fiction to escape writing about computer software and to travel to other places in time. My degree is in History, which gave me the perfect training for researching specific places and events in DARE NOT TELL and THE BRAVEST SOLDIER. I've traveled to all but one of the countries in the books and visited all the sites where the story takes place, some more than once.

I was an oil brat, and attended high schools in Algiers, Algeria, Northwood, England, Clear Lake City, Texas, Beirut, Lebanon, and Kingston-upon-Thames, England. For many years I’ve lived in Bellaire, Texas. My husband and I raised our son here. Now we have a rescue cocker spaniel underfoot and travel as often as we can convince our son to look after the dog for us.

I'm a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women's Fiction Writers Association.

I hope you love reading my books as much as I've loved writing them.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Bravest Soldiers: Love, loss, and longing in Australia during WWII is a work of fiction in the historical fiction, romance, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Elaine Aucoin Schroller. This heartfelt narrative depicts the intertwined lives of Sophie Parker and Marianne Ryan as they navigate the many personal and emotional challenges of World War II. Sophie, a veteran nurse from the First Great War, faces the fear of history repeating itself as her sons enlist to fight in the new, even more dangerous conflict. Meanwhile, Marianne, a Frenchwoman now in Sydney, grapples with homesickness and unexpected love amid the turmoil of war.

Author Elaine Aucoin Schroller has crafted an emotionally rich reading experience that beautifully captures the profound impact of war on individuals and relationships. I adore anything from the Second World War that isn’t set at the heart of the action, so the Australian setting really offered a wider perspective on the global impact of the conflict. The novel delves into the complexities of love and sacrifice, offering a glimpse into the lives of those who remained on the home front during wartime with deep emotional resonance. Schroller's writing combines a keen sense of historical accuracy with relatable emotions, deep dialogue exchanges, and close, raw narrative skill, allowing readers to connect with the characters on a truly meaningful level. The novel is a poignant reminder of the courage and strength displayed by those who faced the uncertainties of war, and it sheds light on the often-overlooked experiences of women who waited and hoped for their loved ones' safe return. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend The Bravest Soldiers to fans of wartime dramas everywhere as a well-penned and highly resonant read.

Rosie Malezer

The Bravest Soldiers: Love, Loss, and Longing in Australia during WWII is the second installment in The Immense Sky saga by Elaine Schroller. Sophie and Joe Parker met and fell in love during World War I. With Marianne accompanying the pair from their holiday in France, Sophie and Joe's children, Sam and Jean-Luc, were of age when the Second World War broke out in 1939. It was not long before Australia was also at war, which saw both boys enlisted and away fighting for their country. Many letters were exchanged between Sam and Marianne, who grew closer and closer despite the distance between them. In Sydney, Marianne watched over the Parker family as promised and kept Sam abreast of all the happenings back home. Her letters got him through the darkest days of the war, and the pair looked forward to seeing each other again so they could start their life anew.... but wars are barriers to tomorrow, especially if tomorrow never comes.

This was one of the most amazingly heartfelt and memorable books I have ever read. I could easily enter the mindset of many of the characters and needed to pause several times due to tears that fell. I now feel compelled to seek out the first book in Elaine Schroller's brilliantly written account of what it is like living during a major world war, as I have lost so many family members to both World Wars and many other battles between and beyond. Having grown up in Queensland and Canberra, I smiled as I visualized the Blue Mountains and was shocked at what people in Australia had to do back home while the men were away fighting. Now living abroad and on the verge of war with Russia, it is daunting here in Finland to get each bomb shelter ready and arm ourselves daily, hoping and waiting for tomorrow to pass uneventfully. I was so very impressed by reading The Bravest Soldiers and feel that language barriers between Europe, the United States, and Australia made parts of the story quite amusing. Audiences around the world will become as enthralled by this book as I was. Elaine Schroller truly gifted me with one of the greatest books I have ever read. Thank you!

Asher Syed

The Bravest Soldiers by Elaine Schroller is a WWII novel following the Australian Parker family after Sophie and Joe's sons, Jean-Luc and Sam, enlist, and French immigrant Marianne becomes an integral part of their lives. The family's experiences during the war, such as Sophie's research into lost jewels, Joe's involvement in solving a murder case, and the family's attempts to assist the war effort and live with rationing, unfold through a succession of narratives and letters. The Parkers protest against rabid xenophobia and embrace orphaned children. The letters Marianne and Sam write to each other reflect a deepening relationship despite the hardships of war, displaying alongside the Parkers what true love and resilience during times of adversity is, and the impact of war on the home front and the lives of soldiers abroad.

Elaine Schroller has written a really beautiful family saga in The Bravest Soldiers, and while it is undoubtedly a work of historical fiction, its pacing and format make it most palatable to those who enjoy literary fiction in its truest sense. While much of the story does revolve around the blossoming relationship between Marianne and Sam, what I loved most was the evolution of the Parker matriarch Sophie, who begins as a woman hosting lively dinners and ultimately becomes a social activist, fund and foodraiser, and determined fighter for the disenfranchised right there in Sydney. The novel spans years but, in crafting the story, Schroller is careful not to sacrifice the daily details in order to whittle down an epic. The inclusion of letters takes readers onto the soil on both sides and it is wonderfully engrossing. Overall. this is a well-written work and one that is well worth a read.