Brides of war

The BookGI Brides

GI Brides: The Wartime Girls who crossed the Atlantic for Love

Author (s)  Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

What it says on the back cover

They left everything behind to follow their hearts… True stories that illuminate the experiences of British war brides in America after World War 2.

American soldiers stationed in the UK came away winning more than just a war, they also won the hearts of young women across Britain. At the end of World War 2, more than 70.000 GI Brides followed the men they’d married men they barely knew to begin a new life in the United States. Meet four of these women:

SYLIVA BRADLEY, a loyal, bright-eyed optimism

RAE BREWER, a resourceful, quick-witted tomboy

MARGARET BOYLE, an English beauty who faced down every challenge

GWENDOLYN ROWE, a brave woman ahead of her time

Though all made the bold choice to leave family and the world they knew, the journey each experienced was unique – ranging from romantic to heartbreaking. Fascinating and unforgivable, GI Brides plays homage to these brave women, propelled by love and hope, who embarked on an adventure that would change their lives.

“Heartbreaking yet tender… Rich in historical detail and masterfully researched.” – Marjorie Hart, New York Times. Best selling author of Summer at Tiffany

“Beautifully rounded portraits… delightful and touching.” – Daily Mail

What made me pick up this book

Having been asked to write-up documents on a World War One veteran for a family in the town I live in here in New Zealand, I was asked by my mother if I would be interested in reading this book which belongs to her. I readily said yes as it gave me a wonderful perspective on what life was like for war brides having only ever written from a viewpoint of a solider. This book is an excellent biography into four lives who uprooted their homeland to a place that they had never seen before. Expecting romance and love till the day they died, these women suffered hardships and homesickness trying to adjust to their new homeland.

About the book

This book follows on from the equally successful book written by the same authors under the name of Sugar Girls. Written as part biography and part memoir,  the book opens its first chapter by introducing Sylvia and then later in Chapter two it moves onto Rae with subsequent chapters referring to Margaret and Gwendolyn. The book can be read either by reading each chapter as it is laid out in the book or read it as the book progresses and switches between each women as their story develops. At the back of the book a conversation was documented with the authors by perhaps the publishers and offers a website on the back cover and a page on further reading inside the book. http://www.gibrides.com

GI Brides

Is this book worth buying?

This book is a must for anyone interested in war history, war brides and what life was like for British women between 1939 – 1945. I throughly enjoyed each women’s account of how life was for them which gave me another perspective into what it was like to be a warbride and how these women overcame many obstacles to make the United States their home.What is interesting is that despite some of the heartaches and dissapointments some of these women endured, they fought hard to save their marriages at any cost and  although it was not all doom and gloom, marriage was something that they took seriously and fought hard to keep it all together not just for their own sakes but for their children that they bore to whom they  tried to remain positive for in times of sadness. Many back home had little idea what some women went through as sad as things may have been.

“They were quite unlike the Tommies of the British Army in their heavy serge- the better cut and higher-quality of the Yanks’ outfits made it hard to tell an officer from a private” (In Sylvia from GI Brides: The Wartime Girls who crossed the Atlantic for Love. Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi. 2014).
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