Author: Duncan Barrett, Nuala Calvi
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: I loved learning about this fascinating bit of history and the incredible journeys of the GI brides, although I found the third person narration a bit stiff.
During the “friendly invasion” of Britain by American GIs during WWII, many women were bewitched by the handsome soldiers with their foreign accents. Thousands of these liaisons ended in marriage and the US army paid to transport the newly married GI brides to the US. For many, this was an exciting, but terrifying prospect. Many of the couples were just getting to know one another and the women rarely knew what they were getting themselves into. From cultural differences to overbearing families, from drinking husbands to gambling husbands, these women faced incredible, impossible to anticipate challenges when they reached their new homes. The four women in this story didn’t all find fairy tale endings, but through sheer force of will, they each shaped lives that would make them happy.
From the very beginning of the book, I felt that the third person narrative imposed a distance between me and the women in the stories. This got better as I went and got more engaged in the stories. In particular, the pictures in the middle and the conclusion both made me feel more connected to the women because they really brought home the fact that these were true stories. There were also some very moving scenes throughout as all the women overcame incredible odds. Their stories would be fantastic fiction but are as true stories, they’re also awe inspiring. I loved learning about this fascinating little piece of history that I’d never heard of before.
Given the subject matter and the time period, it was inevitable this book would focus largely on the four women’s relationships with their husbands and other suitors. At times, this made it a little difficult to remember who was who, but the authors did a very good job reorienting the reader as they switched between stories. Despite the focus on the women’s relationships (both in the book and in that time period), they all managed to stand on their own and fight for what they wanted out of life. I think it’s wonderful that the authors are telling the stories of these inspiring women, one of whom is author Nuala Calvi’s grandmother. The fact that the author’s did many interviews and a lot of research is clear from the richness of these stories. If you love learning about women in history or WWII or if you like stories about complicated romance, this is definitely a book for you.
For some other perspectives, check out the other stops on the tour.