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GI Brides: The Wartime Girls who Crossed the Atlantic for Love by Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi: A Book Review

GI Brides: The Wartime Girls who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
Authors: Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 368
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: A jeeped screeched to a halt beside her. The driver called out “Hey sugar!”and Gwendolyn, turning to give a smart reply was caught speechless. There, with one foot on the dashboard, was a GI with sparkling brown eyes and exotic good looks. Within moments she had agreed to join him for dinner that night.

     Worn down by years of war and hardship, girls like Sylvia, Margaret, and Gwendolyn were thrilled to find they had more dates than they could wish for when the American GIs arrived in Britain. Others, like Rae, who distrusted the Yanks, were eventually won over by their easy charm.

     So when VE Day finally came, for the 70,000 girls who’d become GI brides, it was tinged with sadness-- it  meant leaving their homeland behind to follow their husbands across the Atlantic. And the long voyage was just the beginning of an even bigger journey.

     Adapting to a new culture thousands of miles from home, often with a man they barely knew, was tough-- but after the Blitz, these girls were determined they could cope with anything. GI Brides shares their funny, compelling, and moving true stories of giving up everything for love.

     My Review: During WWII when American GIs arrived in Britain, young English girls were happy to find that they had more dates that they could wish for. The American GIs had charm, charisma, and gentlemanly behavior that even some girls, who disliked them at first, eventually were won over. In fact when VE Day came, there were 70,000 women who became GI brides. GI Brides tells the story of four young brides who left behind their parents and homeland, to cross the Atlantic for love.

     The novel chronicles the lives of Sylvia, Margaret, Rae, and Gwendolyn. The chapters switch back and forth from person to person. The beginning tells of their courtship with an American GI. These GIs not only won the hearts of these girls, but also their families. They seemed like their ideal dream guy that these girls were instantly infatuated and were in total bliss. When the GIs proposed to them, they accepted them. They were willing to make sacrifices to be with them because they loved them. But crossing the Atlantic was only part of the story. One of them actually found happiness in her husband. The other three found that there husbands were not whom they thought they were. These three husbands who seemed to be perfect gentlemen turned out to have a dark side to them.

     I found that each of the four women were very strong and admirable. They were like any young girl who looked for love and hoped for a happy marriage. Yet when they went to the U.S. to be with their husbands, they found that they would have to adapt to a new culture, and to their new husbands. They struggled and coped with their marriages. During their trials, they struggled to find their happiness and eventually they found it.

     Overall, this novel is about family, love, sacrifices, choices, and hope. The message of the book is that even though you are going through tough trials, you will eventually come out of it and find happiness. This book is an interesting look WWII war brides. Margaret is Nuala Calvi’s grandmother so it is a personal and emotional account. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in WWII memoirs. GI Brides is a thought-provoking novel that tells us true and compelling personal accounts of these four women. Even though this novel shows us the cost of the choices these women made to be with their husbands they barely knew, it reminds us that where there is darkness, there is hope and light. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars



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