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Showing 1-10 of 7,233 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 11,037 reviews
on October 28, 2011
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. There were actually a few sentences that were incomplete, but I could intuit the thread of the thoughts being conveyed, so I just filled in. The plot and characters are very interesting so buy the paperback or check it out at the library.
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on June 17, 2011
I'm still in the grip of this fascinating novel. I may just go back and read it again.
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.
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on May 22, 2017
I like this time period in history and loved this book. I felt that some parts of each woman's stories were not more detailed. I would have like a bit more detail of the 16 year old Tanni's first days of her journey to England. THere were only hints of Richard's emotions on his true feelings about Evangeline and a little more of both their feelings would have been helpful. It took me a long time to like either one of them by being so vague. The author could have given us a little more on each one and fleshed out the ending with more details, especially Evangeline regarding her apparent problem and life with her husband. JUst thought I wanted more and that does make it a fine book. I want a movie or Masterpiece Theatre with Vanessa Redgrave (Alice) and Judy Dench as Elsie in there later years. This way we will get detail and a more expansive ending!
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on October 5, 2015
I enjoyed this interesting look at war time in rural England. The story centers around a group of woman who all find themselves in a small rural English village during World War II. The woman come from a variety of backgrounds, including an American, a jew who escaped the Nazi's, a poor London resident evacuated to the country,and a rich slightly spoiled young woman sent to the country to 'stay out of trouble, yet they all somehow come together as unlikely friends as they survive the struggles of war and even devise a plan to for a daring rescue. There are romances in the story, but the main focus is the relationship between these woman. The characters are interesting, and the story offers a genuine look at the untold story of war through the eyes of women, but for me the ending fell a little flat. If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy War Brides.
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on February 26, 2017
I thought the book had a beautiful story and I loved how the author tied all of the stories of the various characters together. She does a good job of describing London during WW2. The only thing I might suggest would be a Q&A at the end of the book. I'd love to know more about Evangeline's son and if her and Richard had more children. I'd love to know more about Alice's life in the US, and how did Tanni end up in Israel. Also I would think that maybe with the Internet and information readily available that she would have been able to find her sisters.

Also I kind of wish we would have known more of the details about France's and her last mission. I kind of just felt that the book's ending still left me with more questions.
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on October 25, 2016
I am so glad I read this later rather than sooner, because I did not have the awful editing, typos etc. that earlier readers had to contend with. Obviously, Amazon cleaned it up.
The story is gripping, but in a gentle way. Rather than writing the story of WWII from the soldier/sailor/airman's view, it is written from the viewpoint of those left behind in a war torn country, having to deal with the hardships and lack of "normality". However, the story is not a "downer". There is much levity and kindness shown.
Ms. Bryan catches the moods and tones of Austria, the UK, as well as the US spanning a time from the 1930's to the late 1990's. Bravo, Ms. Bryan! I shall be reading more of your work.
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on April 6, 2015
The forgotten ones in WWII, the perils and romantic lives of brave women.
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on April 20, 2017
The premise of this book is great and transports the reader to life during WWII in Great Britain. Five women from completely different geographical areas and walks of life are thrust together and must work as a team to make life during the war's devastation bearable. There was so much potential for the story line, but the story-line toward the end of the book became haphazard, and the characters underdeveloped. I could almost feel a deadline involved. The end of the book was a complete disappointment and extremely unrealistic. The four stars are because the research was well done, and the book had a riveting start. Just prepare to be disappointed by the ending.
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on May 12, 2015
The War Brides is a very interesting novel that depicts young women living through the civilian experience of World War II, mainly in a coastal town in England. Interesting because each of the women marries early in the war but survives alone with the support of this circle of friends. Rationing, food scarcity and the value of knowing how to "poach" game, the relocation of children from the dangerous streets of London to rural villages, and the conversion of once grand houses to convalescent homes for terribly wounded soldiers are all aspects of life in this period that seem authentic. Author Helen Bryan has good material that makes an appealing historical novel about five unique women in war time. Regretably, there are gaps in the story and elements that don't gel because they seem too unbelievable or are too truncated, or the characters are never developed. Such is the case with Evangeline, who runs away from Louisiana with a British officer because she wants to escape discovery of her affair with a mixed race cousin who has fled before her to France. The implausibility of her rapid escape to England at the start of the war, but her inability to get to France to meet her lover - surely a much easier journey - leaves the reader skeptical, and her ill treatment of the British officer makes her unlikeable, and her ultimate claim of affection for him is unlikely. The officer's infatuation with Evangeline and his abandonment of his rather dull fiancé seems more likely if the officer had actually spent any time with Evangeline doing more than dancing at a party in Louisiana.
More plausible is the escape from Austria of a young Jewish couple who spend most of the novel separated by the husband's work with the war office. It is hardly surprising that the young Jewish girl (16) doesn't recognize the fate of her family left behind to the fate of living under Nazis as so little is known about the Holocaust until after the war. The plot gets derailed by an unlikely plot to smuggle two young sisters out of a refugee camp in France by boat, with a plan to use smugglers tunnels on the coastline that lead to the village cemetery. This was too much Nancy Drew for me. The end of the story reveals that the cockney youth and his girlfriend have become wealthy and titled, apparently due to Bernie's legal and illicit businesses during the war, which seems a likely story scenario.There is enough material in War Brides to make a rich and coherent novel. Unfortunately, if is too rough in places and too improbable in others to come together as a well-constructed novel. Some better editing and fuller
development of the male characters would, at a minimum, smooth over the rough edges. Nevertheless I managed to finish reading this book because I kept being drawn in by the realism of depictions of life during the war in rural England.
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on August 29, 2017
This book started out rather confusing for me with so many storylines and characters but eventually it all played out and made sense. I enjoyed the characters and their resilience despite the hardship of war and the atrocities that occurred to them as well as to loved ones. The bond of these women who put aside some differences, still kept their secrets, or some of them, loved and shared what little rationing allowed. Nice read!
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