4 of 5 stars
Hi everyone!! There has been a very severe and sad decline in the amount of time I have had to read lately because of my new job, but I did have time to read this one after being accepted to join TLC Book Tours. I otherwise would not have even known about this new release, and I’m so glad that I did find out about it. So thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
GI Brides is the true and personal story of four very different brides of WWII veterans – Sylvia who was excited to serve the “Yanks” as a Red Cross volunteer, Margaret whose family was extremely suspicious of the yanks, Rae who was a tomboy and herself served in the English army, and Lyn who was a shy and naïve younger woman as the war began. All of these women fell in love with men who were stationed in England during the war and eventually followed them to America when the US government transported upwards of 60,000 GI Brides. The chapters switch back and forth between their stories of how their marriages and lives changed after moving to America. Ultimately, this nonfiction story ends up reading like fiction because of the details and dialogue included in each woman’s story.
I’m not normally a person who picks up non-fiction unless it is labeled as a memoir, and the only reason I chose to be on the tour for GI Brides is because I am a military spouse and thought I would be able to identify with it. I did not expect this book to be so narrative based and to draw me in the way that it did. By the end, I was so invested in these women’s lives and cried with them in the happy moments and the sad. This definitely is my kind of non-fiction!
I love how the authors took the time to seek out some of the GI Brides who had different experiences, who led very different paths after they left England, and chose to tell their stories in a way that a lot of women can identify with and can enjoy reading about. I’ve read several historical romance fiction novels written in the WWII era, and I think this book rates right there with some of the best of those. It’s insightful and afterwards heartwarming and inspiring because you know that you have read about real people’s lives. I actually learned a thing or two that I didn’t already know about WWII, how the Americans reacted to the influx of GI Brides, and the difficultly that some of the women had with transitioning cultures.
I would recommend this book to any of you who like to read about love stories, especially those set in wartime, and to anyone would also like to be surprised by a non-fiction story.
Check out the GI Brides website for more info on the brides in this story and some new brides featured in upcoming short stories, author bios on Nuala Calvi and Duncan Barrett, and pictures and blog posts from the GI Brides.