War Br1iodes

War Brides

by Helen Bryan

Gail Reid (01/30/13): The War Brides are five young women thrown together in a rural English village durng World War II. There is an American on the run, the vicar's sensible daughter, a working class girl, a debutante, and a young Jewish mother who recently escaped from Germany. All of them have a role to play in the war from Land Girls to secret participation in the resistance.

The bond of friendship they develop is strengthened through their commitment to each other as well as a commitment to justice. They hatch a plan to save the German woman Tanni's young twin sisters who have disappeared from a kindertransport. They meet men and marry them quickly as this is an era of enormous insecurity.

The war brings out their better selves. The American takes charge of feeding everyone with simple rations and creative poaching. The German woman sews, mends and remakes clothing from scraps and bed sheets. The debutante succeeds in undercover work while the working class woman uses her fiance's illicit connections to get much needed goods.

When they reconnect 50 years later at a reunion, they have much to share with each other including unfinished business from the war years. This is a fast-paced story that held my interest from beginning to end. I feel as if I gleaned much more insight into day-to-day life during the war and the sacrifices that so many people made.
Rating: ****

Debbie Weiss (01/23/13): This book takes place mostly in England during WWII. While men were sent off to fight the war, women were sent to the countryside towns from the cities to remain safe from enemy fire. The town of Crowmarsh Priors was one such town that took in these women and their children. There were 5 very different women who were thrown together in this locale for this reason and we see how they become an extended family during these extremely difficult years.

There is Alice Osbourne, a local, whose father was the town's vicar before he passed away. There is Evangeline Fontaine, who fled from New Orleans to Europe to escape an arranged marriage back in the US. Elsie Pigeon is a poor young lady from London who speaks with a strong Cockney accent and then there is Tannie Zayman, a young Jewish woman who was sent away from Germany by her family for her own safety. Frances Falconleigh is the last of the group, a wealthy debutante with a passion for fun and wild times. We suffer with these women through nightly air raids, food rationing, clothes rationing, child births and deaths, as well as traitors in the midst. The reader comes to care about each of these strong female personalities and their family members near and far.

The book actually begins and ends with a reunion of the group 50 years after the war. I very much enjoyed this book because it was written well and portrayed a wonderful story of friendship during difficult times. I am rating this book a 5 and would strongly recommend it to others.
Rating: *****

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