Friday, October 12, 2012

War Brides: Book Review

Stephen and I are huge fans of Amazon and we have the Prime membership.  Not only do we get free, 2-day shipping, but we also get to watch TV shows and movies streaming and I get to rent books directly to my Kindle.  WHAT?  Did you just read that - yes you did.  Amazon has a "library".

Before we start talking about the book let's talk about this book renting on Amazon.  This was my first time renting a book and I love it.  You can only rent one book at a time, and only once a month, but it's so much better than going to the library and you get books immediately on your Kindle.  Don't get me wrong, I love the library and I love book stores, but sometimes instant gratification is nice.  My boss, a big reader, has been using Amazon Prime to check out books for a while now and he is a huge supporter.  Check it out.

Okay, why you're really here, let's chat about the book.  War Brides by Helen Bryan begins just before the start of WWII in England.  I've read and watched a lot of movies about WWII and this was a point of view that I've never dove into before.  The book follows five women starting just before the war and how they all come to live in a small, countryside town outside of London.  While at war, each of the 5 ladies becomes a war bride, each under different circumstances.  They don't all like each other but they work together to keep some sense of normalcy during the dark time of the war.  They have to ration food, hunt, make clothes out of old fabric and always be ready to move down to bomb shelters during the raids.  When their families are spread all across the country, they turned to each other for support.

I enjoyed getting to know each of the women and their families.  Not all of them were 100% good people, but they did what they had to do to stay alive and happy.  I wanted the book to go on for much longer than it did.  I felt the end came far to quickly, and that's where I get upset with the book.  It was moving at such a great pace and then all of a sudden it jumps 50 years.  I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the the 1940s ladies.  As a reader we didn't even get to be with them when they heard the war had ended.  I felt like the author was just trying to end the book too quickly.  There is a twist at the end of the book that felt so out of place and like it's only purpose was to tie up some loose ends.  It became so unreal that it ruined it for me.

I recommend the book to people like me who were renting the book for something to read on a short business trip or long weekend.  It definitely made my flights go by faster.  While I probably won't pick up the book again, it has sparked an interest in me and I'm excited to learn more about what WWII did to women in England and throughout the rest of Europe.  I think so much attention is focused on the men who fought in the front lines, and it should be, they are true heroes, but the women they left behind in their cities and villages also had to sacrifice while also seeing and doing things they never thought possible.

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