Saturday, October 18, 2014

GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

GI Brides is a non-fiction novel about four different British women who find love with American GIs during World War II. After the war, they travel to America and find that the romance of war hides various truths about the men they love.

Sylvia Bradley lost one love on D-Day, but is able to find love again afterwards.  Her family enjoys meeting American GIs she brings home on dates, but she leaves them behind for a new life in America.  Rae Brewer is a tom boy who becomes an ace welder during the war.  She isn’t interested in romance, but it finds its way to her when she meets and falls in love with Raymond.  Margaret Boyle is a beauty with a hard home life.  She meets the man of her dreams, but he isn’t ready for a stable relationship.  Crushed, she meets someone new and he may be the man of her dreams or maybe her nightmares.  Gwendolyn (Lyn) Rowe is a young girl who is excited by the Americans, dances, and fun.  She meets and falls in love with Italian-American, Ben, and they start a new life together in California after the war.

I loved reading about each woman and her experiences.  What I thought was most interesting was how the imminent danger they were all in under constant bombing by the Nazi’s and the romance of the GI’s in their uniforms hid a LOT of problems that they would discover when they returned to America with their husbands.  Being alone in a strange land with a man who wasn’t what he appeared to be in England would be terrifying.  These women found the strength to continue on and make a good life for them.  

I enjoyed the way this book was written, it was non-fiction, but read as fiction.  I loved the middle section of pictures of the women.  I also loved the extras at the end, including an interview with one of the authors, Nuala Calvi.  Her Grandmother was Margaret and she didn’t learn of her story until shortly before her death.  That put her on a search to find others like her Grandmother to learn their amazing stories to share with the world.  

Overall, I thought this is one of the best books I have read about WWII.  It dealt with the human aspect of what was going on in England during WWII, the terror and the triumphs, but also what happened after the war.  How did former soldiers cope when the battle was over?  I highly recommend this book.

Book Source:  Review Copy from William Morrow – Thanks!

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