“They left everything behind to follow their hearts…True stories that illuminate the experiences of British war brides in America after World War II” (Back cover). GI Brides by Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi follows the lives of four women who followed the men they married to America to start a new life. The stories in this book are beautifully written and really show what the lives of these women was like once they got to America.
Title: GI Brides- The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
Author: Duncan Barett & Nuala Calvi
Format: Paperback, 358 pages
Source: Received from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
For readers enchanted by the bestsellers The Astronaut Wives Club, The Girls of Atomic City, and Summer at Tiffany’s, an absorbing tale of romance and resilience—the true story of four British women who crossed the Atlantic for love, coming to America at the end of World War II to make a new life with the American servicemen they married.
The “friendly invasion” of Britain by over a million American G.I.s bewitched a generation of young women deprived of male company during the Second World War. With their exotic accents, smart uniforms, and aura of Hollywood glamour, the G.I.s easily conquered their hearts, leaving British boys fighting abroad green with envy. But for girls like Sylvia, Margaret, Gwendolyn, and even the skeptical Rae, American soldiers offered something even more tantalizing than chocolate, chewing gum, and nylon stockings: an escape route from Blitz-ravaged Britain, an opportunity for a new life in affluent, modern America.
Through the stories of these four women, G.I. Brides illuminates the experiences of war brides who found themselves in a foreign culture thousands of miles away from family and friends, with men they hardly knew. Some struggled with the isolation of life in rural America, or found their soldier less than heroic in civilian life. But most persevered, determined to turn their wartime romance into a lifelong love affair, and prove to those back home that a Hollywood ending of their own was possible.
G.I. Brides includes an eight-pages insert that features 45-black-and-white photos.
About the Authors
Duncan grew up in London and read English at Jesus College, Cambridge. He is the editor of Ronald Skirth’s First World War memoir The Reluctant Tommy (Macmillan, 2010) and co-author of Star Trek: The Human Frontier (Polity, 2000) and Zippy and Me: The Remarkable Life in Puppets of Rainbow’s Ronnie Le Drew (forthcoming, 2011). He also works as an actor and occasional theatre director.
Imagine being at home and falling in love with a soldier from overseas. All of your thoughts are consumed by this solider and you know that you never want to leave him. One day he asks you to marry him and you say yes. The war ends and realization hits- you are married to this man and now must leave your family and make the trek overseas to America to start a new life. You have to give up everything you have known and start a new life. Although I have never had this experience, I can only imagine what it must have been like to fall in love with a soldier and then travel to America when the war ended. I think that Duncan and Nuala did a fantastic job capturing this exact predicament in the book GI Brides. I really enjoyed reading about Sylvia Bradley, Rae Brewer, Margaret Boyle, and Gewndolyn Rowe and the adventures each of them had when they came to live in the United States.
Duncan and Nuala did a fantastic job interviewing these women and putting together their incredible stories. These women expected to have “happily ever after” when they married these young soldiers, but that is far from what they got. This book really shows all of the rough and tough situations that they had to go through. I found it difficult to put down this book, I wanted to find out how the lives of these four women changed through time. I thought that having the chapters alternate between the four women was really well done and really captured your attention- you had to keep reading, especially if you fell in love with one of the women and you wanted to know what happened to her.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in history, World War II, or just interested to know about how the world was ‘way back when’. This book was wonderfully written and shares with the world beautiful and tough stories. The pictures that are included really add to the story.
I give this book:
(4.5 Hippos out of 5 Hippos)
Thank you to:
For allowing me to participate in this tour.