The American culture seems to have an insatiable appetite for anything British. We are obsessed with Jane Austen, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Downton Abbey, etc.
During World War II, the appetite was turned in the other direction. While the war started several years before Pearl Harbor, the Americans did not join the war until after December 7th, 1941. After Pearl Harbor, American servicemen were eager to join the war effort. When they flooded cities in Britain, young British women took note of the new faces.
Some of these women ended up marrying their American servicemen boyfriends and making new lives in America. Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi’s new non fiction memoir, GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed The Atlantic For Love follows the stories of four young women from Great Britain who married American servicemen.
Rae, Margaret, Sylvia and Gwendolyn were young women during World War II. Instead of marrying local boys, they fell for the charm, charisma and confidence of the American men they married. After the war, they joined their husbands in America and attempted to live as American women. But the mystique of America would soon fade and the women would be faced with challenges that they would have no choice but to overcome.
I loved this book. My favorite history books are the ones that focus on a small number of individuals that bring that moment in history to life. Rae, Margaret, Sylvia and Gwendolyn could have been characters in a movie. But they are real women who lived through World War II and took the bold step to follow their hearts to America.
I recommend this book.