War Brides is the story of five very different women whose lives intersect in Sussex, England during the second World War. One is a sixteen year-old Jewish girl escaping Austria by marrying a family friend. One is an American from New Orleans recently married to a British Naval officer. One is fifteen year-old girl from the slums of London. One is a barely-legal motherless wild woman sent away by her father to get on "the straight and narrow". And one is a shy vicar's daughter disappointed by a failed engagement.
The relationships begin to intertwine more and more until the women define themselves as group. Throughout the war each does her part for the war effort, caring for evacuees and each other while separated from their husbands and families.
After my post last week in which I talked about World War II and how different it is from a European perspective, I thought it best to review this book as soon after as possible. Reading about the sacrifices and suffering of the English for many more years and much more intensely than the Americans was amazing to me. It has been awhile since I was so moved by a book; I cried at least twice throughout. I so admired these women.
I was also very impressed to realize the amount of research Helen Bryan must have done for the book. It's also her first novel.
I hope you'll read War Brides and if you do, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.