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War Brides by Helen Bryan

War Brides (edition 2012)

by Helen Bryan

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4331824,328 (3.49)19
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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I found myself a little disappointed with War Brides by Helen Bryant and I think the biggest reason for that is that this wasn't the story I expected. I thought the story would focus on women who married servicemen from a different country and the bulk of the story would be about the adjustments they had to make in order to fit in and feel at home in their new country. In actual fact this story was about a group of women, who did marry during the war, but the storyline was about how these five women met and what they did during the war. But my biggest complaint is that the book felt very pieced together and the part that was set in the present was truly a mess with the ending making little to no sense.

This story is about five young women, all from different social classes and backgrounds, who meet in an English village during World War II. By the end of the book, we are supposed to believe that these women have the unbreakable bond of true friendship between them, but I never felt that the author demonstrated this. Mostly they just seemed to tolerate each other.

War Brides would certainly have benefited from tighter editing. It felt very much like a manuscript before it was polished, edited and made into a book. The secret to books like this is to make the reader really care about the characters but these characters were poorly developed and rather stereotypical. I did buy this at a reduced price for my Kindle and I guess it’s another case of getting what one pays for. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jun 15, 2016 |
The story of four war brides in a small village in England from 1937 to 1944 and a reunion in 1995. The hardships and triumphs while the men were away. It tells how the girls bonded together to bring order into the chaos of war. I liked this book because it showed women who became strong when they had to be. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know how the women of England worked to supply the necessary goods and services to win the war. ( )
  JCGirl | May 7, 2016 |
I wasn’t sure what to expect in Helen Bryan’s War Brides. I’ve always thought of war brides as those who married foreign soldiers during the war and maybe left England and moved away. But these brides come from varied walks of life and meet in an English village near the start of the war. Their lives are shadowed by planes flying overhead and the threat of bombs. And their secrets are many.

There’s an intriguing sense of life’s incompleteness and unexpected connections in this tale. Past memories can be twisted by circumstance. Future dreams can vanish in a moment’s fear. And the present is all we have. In the end, despite all their efforts to change it, the present will have its way with these brides too.

From Louisiana's genteel disgrace to London’s street-smart theft, from Nazi terror to child evacuees, and from society’s assumptions to a woman’s hopes and dreams, this story tells of the displaced finding place, and of past and future lurking in the wings.

Some depictions ring hauntingly true, especially that of a woman’s depression after childbirth, and the sense a village coping with its changing generations in a time of war. At other times readers may find it harder to suspend disbelief. But the story moves through twists and turns, bringing characters together then tearing them apart, and revealing how that quest for closure might be as false the desire to control future and past.

War Brides is a tale filled with mysteries, ending with mysteries of human lives, and it’s a good read, despite its occasional oddities.

Disclosure: A friend wasn’t enjoying it so she gave it to me to read. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Mar 4, 2016 |
Found the book so boring that I only made it half way through. ( )
  Jennie.Cole | Feb 24, 2016 |
MP3 audio

An interesting fact: This Amazon review by K Wolfe seems to have a common thread with many others.
"I really enjoyed this novel but Amazon must have out-sourced the transcription of it to an ESL provider or a very bad typist for the Kindle version. There are lots of typos, duplicate words, and missing words which made it frustrating to read at times..." etc
Apparently this has since been corrected.

I used MP3 audio, narrated by Tavia Gilbert.
She did a wonderful job, with quite a variety of characters.
war bride (British Dictionary)

a woman who marries a serviceman about to go overseas in wartime.

a woman who marries a foreign serviceman and goes to live in his country.

a soldier's bride met as a result of troop movements in wartime, esp a foreign national.
This is the story of Alice, Elsie ,Tanni, Evengeline and Frances and, with the backdrop of WW2, we find an endearing friendship entwining 5 very dissimilar women.
As war closes in, the quiet English village of Crowmarsh Priors is redefined, receiving evacuees from London, experiencing air raids,
rationing, and local men leaving to fight and die.

By way of introduction, we meet "Alice, the local minister's daughter who had never stepped outside Crowmarch Priors; Frances, the admiral's daughter who had been "banished" to the countryside because of her lively antics; Evangelne, the American, who had hurriedly married the dashing English aviator to escape from her arranged marriage; Tanni, a refugee who had narrowly escaped the German persecution of the Jews and Elsie, the lowly tenement girl sent to live in the country to escape the bombings of London." (editorial note)

We experience their lives individually and a shared intimacy that developed with war as the catalyst.
The story begins with four of the women returning for a celebration fifty years later.
But, their mission is not simply to commemorate or remember.
The book has a lively tempo and an unexpected twist at story's end. ( )
  pennsylady | Feb 11, 2016 |
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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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