Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review: War Brides

Author: Lois Battle
Publication Date: November 27, 2012 (Paperback)
Publisher: Penguin Books

A vibrant novel set in postwar America from the New York Times bestselling author of The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary and Sewing Circle

World War II is over, but for three young Australian women who meet on their way to new lives and new husbands in America, the adventure is just beginning. Sheila, Dawn, and Gaynor will need to reacquaint themselves with the military men they swore to love when peace seemed like a lifetime away. But the world that awaits them is filled with new challenges, and each woman will be forced to summon courage and strength she never knew she had.

Brilliantly capturing an era that continues to enthrall, War Brides will be embraced by fans of historical fiction and the many readers who are rediscovering Lois Battle and her timeless brand of storytelling

“Dawn poured the tea and passed the cups around, her hand shaking slightly. A feeling of great weariness came over her. Would it never be over? The war dominated their lives so completely that it was impossible to remember what life had been like before its great shadow had cast them into continual gloom.” – Paperback Copy pg. 5

“The next morning the women and children lined the decks of the ship clutching the American flags that had been handed out by the Red Cross, and peered into the dense fog.” – Paperback Copy pg. 50

“The icy January wind howled around the shack. Shelia woke up with a start, thinking the baby had given her a strong kick. Then she realized that the accumulated snow on the tree overhanging the house had been dislodged by the wind and was falling on the roof with a dull, thudding sound. Blinking, she took the book that was propped up on her belly, set it on the bedspread, and then crossed her hands over her abdomen and lay waiting to feel the baby move.” – Paperback Copy pg. 195

“During the war lots of women who were married did all sorts of things.” – Paperback Copy pg. 249

Told from three different perspectives, this novel focuses around three women who are coming to America post World War II to join their new husbands and to start brand new lives. Each of these women: Gaynor, Dawn, and Shelia have extremely different paths ahead of them and are in for some unexpected changes. They are young and have their minds set on living the great American dream, but discover that not everything is always as it first seems.

The detail and language that fill this book are so rich and vibrant that it took me over a week to read it. I have sat down each night for the past week or so and read a little at time, making sure that I missed something. Lois Battle sure does know how to tell a story, and the detail is so vast and incredible that I found myself wondering if she was in fact a war bride in another life. She draws attention to memorable characteristics within each character, making them feel like your neighbors and friends. I felt like I could reach out and touch the settings and shake hands with the characters. This story literally gives you a front porch view, and if every author wrote this way I would be exceedingly happy. Lois makes sure that readers don’t miss anything important!

Postwar America was laid out like never before. After reading this book I felt overwhelmingly patriotic. I was given a look at a different America, however, one that can only be seen through the eyes of immigrants or newcomers. People that are new to the soil and the way of life here. Family dynamics were also explored immensely within this novel. In fact, each woman tells of her new family life and we are able to see directly into their homes including all the baggage, heartaches, problems, and trails that they face alongside their husbands. You will feel empathy and sympathy for these characters and the lives that some of them settle with. I wanted to yell at the characters more than a few times. Readers have to remember that times were different then, and the war consumed the lives of many in more ways than death.

This story is a beautiful and marvelous portrayal of wartime brides and the beauty and patriotism of America. I enjoyed everything that I learned on the historical side of things from this novel, and I especially enjoyed reading the interview with Lois Battle in the back of the book and finding out how this particular story connected to her life. To fully appreciate the nature and dynamics that make up this book, you may want to donate a little extra time to reading it. These women’s stories are not ones that you will want to fly through, but more so breathe in like fresh air.

***Thank you to the publishers at Penguin Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***


  1. Never heard of this one before but it's one that I can see myself enjoying a lot. Great review :)
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  2. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the great review!

  3. Grew up around the author she is a friend of my godmothers. She is a very sweet lady and her books have always been amazing. This is a very great review.