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GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
     

GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love

4.1 31
by Duncan Barrett
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Daily Mail (London)
“Beautifully rounded portraits … delightful and touching.”
The Londonist
“This is a treasure box of testimonies from a very different world, and one that will soon slip from living memory. Kudos to the authors for capturing these memories for posterity, and in such a readable, touching way.”
Jacqueline Winspear
Much has been written about the British “G.I. Brides” of World War II, but perhaps never before with such honesty, compassion, emotional insight and intimacy. I loved this book, and once picked up, it was really hard to put down.
Erika Robuck
“GI BRIDES includes two authors, four women, and the countless trials and triumphs of wartime romance. Nuala Calvi and Duncan Barrett deftly portray love and heartbreak in riveting narratives that consume the reader from the opening paragraph to the last perfect sentence.”
Marjorie Hart
Heartbreaking yet tender, these British wartime brides face the high cost of marrying GIs they scarcely know and courageously reclaim their lives a thousand miles from home and family. Rich in historical detail and masterfully researched
Hazel Gaynor
Truly fascinating insight into the experiences of the war brides; remarkable women whose lives were transformed by war and the American GIs who stole their hearts.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-08-10
The love stories of four British women who married American soldiers.When American soldiers flooded the streets of London and the surrounding English countryside during World War II, British girls were swept off their feet. Barrett and Calvi (The Sugar Girls, 2012, etc.) bring together the stories of four war brides—Sylvia, Gwendolyn, Rae and Margaret—who fell in love with these men in uniform. Little did they know how much their lives would change once the war was over or that they were expected to live in America with their new husbands, far from the land and culture with which they were familiar. The authors' prose is saturated with details of life during and after the war, which brings readers into that era, when the chance to live in America meant a house of one's own, modern conveniences and affluence. For each of these four women, the American dream didn't necessarily turn out to be glamorous. One struggled to raise her children on mere pennies while her husband spent all his wages on alcohol, and another faced skepticism from her husband's family as to whether she was a suitable bride. When surrounded by a group of strangers, another longed for home, where she felt understood—not like in America, where "these people had no idea who she was or what she had been through." Another battled against her husband's gambling addiction. But despite their hardships, these women soldiered on and tried to make the best of their situations. Alternating among the women, the authors bring to light the joys and sorrows of each woman, but readers may find it easier to read each story in its entirety before switching to another one. Entertaining stories about four women who embraced life with American soldiers after the end of World War II.
Library Journal
09/15/2014
After the end of World War II, an estimated 70,000 British women migrated to the United States to marry soldiers they met during the conflict. Although their experiences varied, all the women shared the task of adapting to a new country without the benefit of family and friends. Nearly 70 years after the initial arrival of the women, coauthors Barrett and Calvi (Sugar Girls) reunited to compile the accounts of 60 brides throughout the States. The result of their efforts is an archive that provides access to some of the oral histories collected (available online at gibrides.com), as well as contemporary stories of four GI brides. Their narratives illuminate the challenges faced by these women along with the ups and downs of their experiences during and after the war. VERDICT While serious scholars might prefer Jenel Virden's well-documented and more analytical Good-Bye, Piccadilly: British War Brides in America, most readers will find this chronicle an entertaining vehicle for learning about the British GI brides' experiences.—Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. Lib., PA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062328052
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/02/2014
Pages:
592
Sales rank:
96,889
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi are the bestselling authors of GI Brides and The Sugar Girls. Duncan studied English at Cambridge and now works as a writer and editor, specializing in biography and memoir. Nuala is a writer and journalist. She trained at London College of Printing and has written for The Times, The Independent, the BBC, CNN, and numerous Time Out books. They both live in London.

Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi are the bestselling authors of GI Brides and The Sugar Girls. Duncan studied English at Cambridge and now works as a writer and editor, specializing in biography and memoir. Nuala is a writer and journalist. She trained at London College of Printing and has written for The Times, The Independent, the BBC, CNN, and numerous Time Out books. They both live in London.

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GI Brides: The war-time girls who crossed the Atlantic for love 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My mother was a war bride. It was only after my dad died that mom talked about comming to america. She was very homesick but being in Washington state it was to far to go back. My parents were married sixty years they were happy together. Now at 98 yrs she is not able to care for herself, in her head and heart she is in England. Its all ok,it was there she was young beautiful and met her "yank" I have all their letters written in 41 through 46 when they married. Loved this book.
Twink More than 1 year ago
The subtitle of GI Brides by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi is: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love. Over one million American GI's 'invaded' England during the Second World War . And by the end of the war, over 70,000 women had married American servicemen and headed to the United States to start a new chapter in their lives. Barrett and Calvi's book documents the lives of four of these women - Sylvia, Gwendolyn, Rae and Margaret, from the early days of the war, to meeting their husbands and finally their experiences over the pond. The narrative rotates through each woman's story in alternating chapters. It's absolutely fascinating reading and I was hard pressed to put it down. The time period is explored and relived through each woman's memories. Historical references are made to actual events and attitudes of the time, but the focus of GI Brides is personal and intimate. Although falling in love with a dashing young military man and crossing the ocean to a new country had the feeling of a romantic fairy tale, what these women actually experienced was not. Now, this was not necessarily the case for all GI Brides. The authors do mention that they "needed stories that really stood out - where the women had faced adversity and grown as a result." There are over forty pictures included in the book, that I found myself looking at almost every time I finished a chapter - gazing at a black and white photo of years gone by and contemplating the direction their lives took. I am captured by memoirs - even more so in this case. These women persevered and soldiered on - "We're British, we can stand anything. Those simple words brought great solace and support to a group of women building lives far from family and home." It was only while reading the authors' notes at the end of the book that I discovered that Nuala Calvi is the granddaughter of Margaret, lending a very personal note to the book. GI Brides reads almost like fiction - anyone enjoying this time period and a look at real lives lived would absolutely enjoy this book
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
World War II, woman’s side of the story, and romance…what more can I ask for?   Absolutely nothing!  This is the perfect book for me.    The setting is my all time favorite.   I love hearing about the war time struggles and happenings from the woman’s point of view.   Romance, my favorite to read.    GI Brides was a little different that the normal WW II books I have read.   This was told from woman from across the ocean.    It is told by women who fell in love with US Military Men.    Each woman had a different story to share.   Starting with how they met their men, how they fell in love, and what they found when they finally made it to the US as new brides from a foreign country.   Each woman shared the story of language issues, some of which made me giggle, not so friendly US families, babies, alcohol abuse, gamble issues, and sickness.   Even with all these struggles the women in this story were able to be strong and do what needed to be done to make happy and successful lives.     I enjoyed that this was not just a happy every after story.  It was a real story about real women who lived what some could call a tough life and came out on top. For everyone who loves the WW II era this is the book for you.   It is definitely one of my top books from this era.   I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a depressing book! The authors say they interviewed 60 brides for the book, a very small sampling but understandable due to the fact that many of the brides are probably dead by now. I guess happy stories of GI brides (I'm sure such stories exist; I have known two war brides and both were very happily married) would not make such good copy,  but this book gives a unbalanced view of the GI's and their brides. When the relationships fail, it is always the fault of the American male. As I said, very depressing and, I believe, unbalanced.    
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved reading each life story. It did not sugar coat their lives. I was very impress with the tough fiber each bride had to overcome problems. Highly recommend! Another great book on the NOOK is the novel - The Partisan by William Jarvis. It too takes place during WWII. It has strong female figures. It is based on actual events durng this time. It just won an Indie Medalian Award. Both books deserve A+++++++++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While the stories in this book are interesting, the writing is awful. The stories are too matter of fact, as if the author is just listing what happened instead of trying to get the reader involved and hold their attention. If you're looking for an easy read just to pass the time, this book is fine, but don't read it expecting to feel enriched or satisfied afterwards.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love that this is a true story written by the granddaughter of one of the main characters in the book. It is a beautifully written glimpse of history from a perspective perhaps many (like myself)have not considered before.
Tarponjack More than 1 year ago
I love biographies and auto-biographies, especially about WWII. This book was great in that it was the story of the bride from the woman's point of view. There are 4 brides and their stories. The book was a bit jumpy. You'd read a part of one bride's story and the next chapter would jump to another bride. I found it hard to figure out where one story had left off in a previous chapter. Solution? I read the book in order of brides and not order of chapters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is not a fiction, it is a 300 page book abook abook about women living in England, Scotland, Germany and other places across the pond during WWII. These women fell in with American GIs and as either wives, or engaged came to live in the United States. Much of their story is told in their own words, in a trite, concise, matter of fact tone. Sometimes their story lacks emotion and this may be the only way they can hold themselves together, while talking of their experiences. I learned a lot about the history and untold stories of thebrave and strong women in this book. These areareas I had never thought about before. The book is well edited, both funny and sad about reall women in real and terrifing situations, I hope generations after us never have to experience. There are several women in this book along with friends, family and co workers the cast of characters is large. Each woman has her own chapters, but in turns, a chapter on Sylvia, then Gwen, then so on. No cursing, or detailed adult topics. I think 16 year old girls could learn a lot from from this. Book. It is very good. I hardly ever give a four star rating, I save them for something out of the ordinary and special, thisbook fits that criteria. Exceptional. AD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being a child of an English war bride, I found this book very interesting. Many of the details brought back memories of events and stories that my parents had talked about. My mother brought me to the states at 11 months of age to meet a family who were total strangers to her. Her twin sister also married a GI and came to the US. Several years later my grandparents and their youngest daughter came here to live as well. Both of my parents are still living and proof that true love did happen as the result of an American stationed in England during WW2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I did find it easier to read by following one gal's story at a time the whole way through the book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed everything about this book. Glad I bought it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mommagb More than 1 year ago
Since there are many different brides the book does not flow,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little confusing because it jumps back and forth between generations, but story is good; enjoyable to read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eldabo More than 1 year ago
I have purchased another book for my friends to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pattyb41 More than 1 year ago
Having worked with a GI bride for ten years, I was very interested in reading about what these young women experienced during the war and how much courage it took to leave their families and their country behind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to follow and really interesting insight into the lives of these women
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago