02 October 2014

G.I. Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love by Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi

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For readers enchanted by the bestsellers The Astronaut Wives Club, The Girls of Atomic City, and Summer at Tiffany, an absorbing tale of romance and resilience – the true story of four British women who crossed the Atlantic for love, coming to America at the end of World War II to make a new life with the American servicemen they married.

The “friendly invasion” of Britain by over a million American G.I.s bewitched a generation of young women deprived of male company during the Second World War. With their exotic accents, smart uniforms, and aura of Hollywood glamour, the G.I.s easily conquered their hearts, leaving British boys fighting abroad green with envy. But for girls like Sylvia, Margaret, Gwendolyn, and even the skeptical Rae, American soldiers offered something even more tantalizing than chocolate, chewing gum, and nylon stockings: an escape route from Blitz-ravaged Britain, an opportunity for a new life in affluent, modern America.

Through the stories of these four women, G.I. Brides illuminates the experiences of war brides who found themselves in a foreign culture thousands of miles away from family and friends, with men they hardly knew. Some struggled with the isolation of life in rural America, or found their soldier less than heroic in civilian life. But most persevered, determined to turn their wartime romance into a lifelong love affair, and prove to those back home that a Hollywood ending of their own was possible.

Ignorantly and excitedly, I started reading G.I. Brides by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi with the expectations of romantic, happily-ever-after tales – and quickly, I realized my mistake. Barrett and Calvi tell the actual experiences of four courageous women who crossed the Atlantic to start new lives after World War II. Their stories involve real people with real flaws and real hardships, so of course they won’t be picture-perfect Hollywood romances. Yet, despite my initial misconceptions, I thoroughly enjoyed reading G.I. Brides and learned much about the romance, the challenges and the adjustments that were the reality of thousands of World War II brides. These well-told stories, rich in historical detail, are transporting, engaging and fascinating. A book I would definitely recommend to lovers of history who like looks at the lives of ordinary people, G.I. Brides is a valuable and memorable read.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I received a copy of G.I. Brides and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. To read other opinions of the novel, click here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad that you ended up enjoying this book even though it wasn't what you expected it to be!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.