Thursday, June 30, 2016

War Brides

War Brides
by Helen Bryan

This is her first novel.  However, she knows how to do research and does it well.  (Her first book is an award wining biography of Martha Washington--"Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty").  Those of us lucky enough to be born after World War II will never truly know how hard a life it was for people, particularly in Europe and Great Britain.  This book focuses on the day to day lives of five very different women living in England who are coping every day with adversity.  You read about the continuous bombing of London night after night, about the short lives of the airmen protecting England, and children removed from their families and sent into the countryside in the hopes that rural areas would be safer.  This book takes it all to a personal level.  Families are torn apart by war and death.  People lived in constant uncertainty, knowing that 25 miles across the channel were armies that could arrive at any time.  In many ways the book is uplifting.  People are helping each other to get through each day, but grim reality can touch anyone at any time.

Positives--The writing is vivid, the characters are well drawn, and it feels real.   These things could have happened.  I had no idea about many of the organizations that were part of England's coping with the constant threat of invasion.

Negatives--I am not a fan of pre-quels.  I find it irritating to start in present day and then go back 50 years. This is a book for adults with some gritty scenes such as in a concentration camp and digging dying people out of wreckage after an air raid in London.  However, there is day to day life and humor that kids might enjoy.

I liked the book.  I hope you do, too.

Reviewed by Dr. Doris Altherr