Tuesday, October 14, 2014

GI Brides - Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi

GI Brides:
The Wartime Girls Who
Crossed the Atlantic for Love
As always, I love picking up suggestions from TLC Book Tours. They've brought such an eclectic mix into my reading life, almost all assuredly books I would not have read otherwise.

Today's selection is no exception.

Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi spent a long time researching the stories of European (specifically British) women who married American soldiers during or just after WWII and consequentially moved to the States. Talk about giving it all up for love.

GI Brides focuses specifically on four of those women and their stories. The authors cover everything from courtship to marriage to move to babies to divorce or happily ever after or whatever the case may be. Their look into each relationship and each woman's story is fascinating.

While each story starts out a bit like a fairy tale (remember what those enchanting days of dating are like? So much hope. So much excitement.), they quickly become anchored in reality. No marriage is easy - especially not one entered into by two people with such different backgrounds and who have had little time to truly get to know each other. The women do not all get a happily ever after. Some stories are quite sad. Others are beautiful, despite their hardships. Mostly, they are just real life. Real life is hard and happy and horrible and hopeful. I felt the authors did a wonderful job portraying the reality of the situations in their retelling.

Nuala Calvi
I recognize that they gathered most of their information from the women themselves, or people who had spoken to the women themselves. Still, at times, I felt the stories were slightly one sided. I know that these are specifically the stories of the women, but I would have appreciated a touch more balance. Certainly these women did not do everything right or were not always justified in their feelings or pain. I would have liked to see through a bit more of that exterior shell. There are cracks, but we never get a full glimpse of all sides of the situation. I suppose that may have been impossible under the circumstances. 

Duncan Barrett
If you are a fan of WWII history or of real life love stories, I recommend picking this one up. It is fairly fast paced and you'll fly through if you are anything like me. The stories are engaging and it helps to know they don't all end the same. These were/are real women with real lives and real struggles. Their stories are worth investing in. 

If you are interested in reading more or just getting a taste of the book, be sure to check out the short story the authors recently released. It's a sort of addition to the book, the story of another war bride, June. You can buy it for just a couple of dollars here on Amazon. 

Pages: 368
Date Completed: October 2, 2014

*to read others' thoughts of this book, check out the full tour schedule*


  1. My Gram came over from England in 1946 to marry my Grandpa so these stories definitely bring her to mind. My grandparents are still living and have now been married for 67 years. I'm glad that at least for them there was a happy ending to their GI Bride story!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    1. What a cool legacy and a great way for you to connect with this book! I'm so glad to hear your grandparents have had a successful marriage!