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War Brides by Helen Bryan

War Brides (edition 2012)

by Helen Bryan

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3061336,480 (3.58)12
Title:War Brides
Authors:Helen Bryan
Info:AmazonEncore (2012), Paperback, 496 pages
Tags:K, WWII, UK, | 1940er, Sussex, Englisch, dnf12, aussortiert

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War Brides by Helen Bryan



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Five young women from diverse backgrounds form a bond due to the imminent invasion of England by the Germans in WW II. Most of the action in this book takes place in Crowmarsh Priors, a rural southern England location. The village is peaceful and bucolic in the days leading up to Britain declaring war on Germany. Alice Osbourne, the late vicar’s daughter, is the town sweetheart. She has just become engaged to Richard Fairfax, whose family is several rungs up the proverbial class ladder. Richard is a junior officer in the British Navy and is part of a group that goes to the United States for an official visit. While there, he meets and succumbs to the charms of Evangeline Fontaine. Evangeline has a secret that would ostracize her from New Orleans society and convinces Richard to take her with him on his return to Britain. They are married at sea by the captain. Frances Foxleigh is the daughter of a highly placed British admiral and is a wild young thing. She is sent to her aunt, Lady Marchmont, in Crowmarsh Priors, to get her away from the bad company she keeps. Elsie is the eldest daughter of poor folks from London’s East End. She is too old to be billeted away from London with other British children but finds a place as a domestic in Lady Marchmont’s estate home. Elsie is one of seven children and worries about her mum and little ones. Antoinette Joseph (Tanni) is Jewish and just barely escapes from her German home by marrying a family friend who is able to get her to London. Her husband is a professor and works for the British Intelligence. She is waiting to hear about her twin sisters aged four or five. The girls were supposed to be trained out of Germany but delays have caused problems and no one knows where they are. These five young women form a bond during the dark and dreadful days of the war. We follow their stories through an interweaving that is both complex yet plausible. Eventually, we meet up with these women fifty years later when they come back to Crowmarsh Priors and finish up some old business.

This story gripped me from page one! I read it in three days. It was suspenseful, intriguing, and educational all the while adding in a bit of wartime romance. I found it to be well written. I bought the paperback edition and did not find anything negative to say about the editing. There were one or two typos but they did not affect the overall story. The final chapters filled in many of the blanks but I think a second book would have fleshed out the next generation a bit and given the reader more of the back story. That said, I rate this as a five star book for its readability and engaging characters. ( )
  AuthorMarion | Nov 1, 2014 |
I had to think for a bit about the rating on this one. On the one hand, I had a hard time putting it down. On the other hand, the ending had parts that were completely unrealistic, and one of the themes in the story was a bit hard to digest. HOWEVER -- the characters stayed with me past closing the book, and I was genuinely surprised and delighted with a couple of the endings, even if some would say they were too neatly tied up. I don't care -- I liked it.

The story is about a group of women during WWII in a small town in England. It's about sacrifice and love, bravery and secrets. There's a bunch of back story which has been off-putting to some readers, so you have to be able to mentally jump from here to there and back again. My copy didn't have the spelling and grammatical errors that others found, but there are some historical inaccuracies -- for instance, the Air Force wasn't the Air Force when Bryan says it is (and I say this as a USAF veteran). I can overlook that, though.

However, I have to give the book five stars because it stuck with me and I was sad to see it end, even if the ending was a little sloppy. I actually got into the characters and their lives and maybe it was just the right time for me to read this sort of thing, but I enjoyed it. The best WWII fiction book ever? No. Worth reading? Yes!

Lori Anderson

Book Blog ( )
  limamikealpha | Jun 5, 2014 |
About 40 years ago, I got hooked on some genre fiction that seems to exist largely in the UK - the World War II Homefront novel. These usually focus on a group of women who are bearing up with humor & stiff upper lips amidst the hardships of rationing and the terror of nightly bombing raids and holding their homes and families together. This one is more of the same - not very good writing and a preposterously far-fetched plot. Bu I was tired of reading serious fiction and wanted to give my brain a rest and the ebook was only 99-cents. Everyone deserves a guilty pleasure now & then. ( )
  etxgardener | Apr 23, 2014 |
A positively charming novel about life in a quiet English village during World War II. This was just a book that I really enjoyed reading. From cover to cover it was a real joy to watch the lives of the five war brides unfold during the years of the war. The ending is a twist and totally unexpected. Great book! ( )
  briandrewz | Mar 2, 2014 |
Good story. Interesting characters. I liked it. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
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Alice Osbourne, the stolid daughter of the late vicar, is reeling from the news that Richard Fairfax broke their engagement to marry Evangeline Fontaine, an American girl from the Deep South. Evangeline's arrival causes a stir in the village but not the chaos that would ensue if they knew her motives for being there. Scrappy Elsie Pigeon is among the poor of London who see the evacuations as a chance to escape a life of destitution. Another new arrival is Tanni Zayman, a young Jewish girl who fled the horrors of Europe and now waits with her newborn son, certain that the rest of her family is safe and bound to show up any day. And then there's Frances Falconleigh, a madcap, fearless debutante whose father is determined to keep her in the countryside and out of the papers. --amazon.com.… (more)

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