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War Brides Paperback – June 12, 2012
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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About the Author
Helen Bryan was born in Virginia, grew up in Tennessee, and is a longtime resident of London. A former barrister, she is the author of an award-winning biography of Martha Washington. She was inspired to write War Brides “by the true war-time stories of family and friends in the United States and England, and by the little known stories of the brave young women who joined Churchill’s Special Operations Executive.” This is her first novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
I try to avoid "romance novels", but the WWII setting and the friendship theme made me curious so I bought the book and was blown away! The author demonstrates a masterful ability to create a variety of seemingly authentic times and locations for her story. East End London slums, an old fashioned Sussex village, late '30's New Orleans at Mardi Gras time, and a city in Austria as Hitler rises to power. All these settings and the characters and situations they serve are amazingly real and convincing.
The story (or stories, there are several)is more about coping with extraordinary circumstances and the way adapting changes attitudes, actions and whole lives. The growth of the friendship between these disparate women thrown together by chance is mesmerizing to read about.
The various love stories are believable and satisfying although not at all the point of these women's lives.
These women live and breathe and ultimately matter to each other, to themselves and to the war effort to which they have committed. A completely unexpected treat that I'm glad I took a chance on.
One caveat: the text is very peculiar - not just typos and such but odd words and phrases that seem to be left over from an earlier draft where the author was experimenting with tenses and phrasing. Its fairly easy to figure it all out but its disconcerting and breaks concentration. Still a brilliant book though.
The strongest part of the book was the setting. I felt I was right there in the small town in the English countryside, living a life of wartime deprivation, patriotism, sacrifice and the tough mindedness of these women that got them through the awfulness of rationing, bombing raids and constant worry.
Then there were characterizations and the relationships between the women. There was the clergyman's daughter Alice who was dumped by her fiance for the American Evangeline with a secret, Tanni, a Jewish woman who escaped from Austria as the Nazis closed in, Elsie, the Cockney-speaking Londoner and Frances a rich girl on a patriotic mission. While these women were all sketched well by the author, they were a bit too formulaic for my taste and they were all a little too "goody-two-shoes" to feel real to me.
I enjoyed the book however, got into the story and the different women as each of them faced her own unique challenges of wartime. The action moved fast and I was drawn into the story.
However, the writer tried to tie up too many loose ends in the last chapter. This just didn't work for me. By the time I finished the book I was thoroughly annoyed.
I became engrossed in the separate stories of the women and was happy to find out what happened to them in later life, however the ending seemed like the author ran out of steam. She wrapped everything up, I guess, but left an opening for the women to find out that some people were alive who had been believed to have died, some were dead who might be alive, somewhere there was someone's child no one knew about and, oh, the bad guy was the obvious bad guy.
The editing was atrocious. I suppose for $.99 I shouldn't expect much but yikes! There were passages that were indecipherable. Even cheap books should be readable, Amazon.
Considering the ponderous structure, overabundance of insignificant characters, unnecessary sidetracks, and the amateurish POV failures, this is hardly exceptional.
It has great potential. I kept reading because I wanted to know what happened. I suppose the only character I wholeheartedly rooted for was Tanni. The rest were either too shallow, annoying, or questionable to care much about. I plowed through to the end wishing I was enjoying it more.
The author does a good job of setting the scene and painting descriptions. However, the pace is ruined by constant POV switches within the scenes. It's as if your whole house was divided into small sections with clear, foot-high barriers. Not noticeable at a glance, easily stepped over, but continually stubbing your toe and then having to lift your feet high to simply walk through the house gets more and more annoying. And tiring. Just as constantly having to shift mental gears when the next character's thoughts intrude is tiring. This is the sort of thing an editor should point out and correct. I can only assume that a total re-write was too much work and they wanted to cash in on brisk sales.
Ponderous structure: Starting everything out in 1995 in a prologue and introducing us haphazardly to numerous elderly characters does this book a disservice. The here-and-there approach was confusing. The book didn't really need to start until Chapter 1.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very much enjoyed War Brides. It will keep your attention through out the book. Even though the characters are fictitious the time period is very real. Read morePublished 3 hours ago by Debbie
Terrific character development of five young women in a small Sussex village during the entire war, with a wide range of supporting characters throughout. Read morePublished 10 hours ago by GypsyWeaver
Excellent read! This is one of those storylines that stays with you and you can put down- and the ending is great!Published 14 hours ago by Julia corder
I just couldn't get interested in these characters and although I'm interested in WW2 and what happened in England, the book did not make me care and usually I get wrapped up. Read morePublished 17 hours ago by Pat
This book was really informative. The war brought a lot of people into the fight. It was just as important to work in the background as it was to carry a gun. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by Diana G.
Once I got into this book and got all the characters straight, I couldn't put this book down! I can't wait to read something else by this author. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by Michelle Fox
A lot of names and characters to consider. Seems stereotypical. Easy to read otherwise.Published 19 hours ago by suechurch