Interesting Period Piece. Awarded 4 stars on Goodreads.
4 stars might be a little bit of a gift. This one does not fair as well against other Jojo Moyes book I’ve read, but the last hundred pages or so do some work to redeem it.
Most interesting to me is the subject matter. It’s 1946 and 650 war brides need to be transported from Australia to Britain, so they can reunite with their husbands at the end of World War II. With no cruise ships available, the brides must travel for six weeks on a converted air craft carrier, with few shore stops and under the direction of a captain who sees this assignment as way beneath him. (I had never heard anything about such an undertaking but apparently there were many ships that made similar trips, shifting thousands of war brides around the world when World War II war ended.)
The novel focuses on four women rooming together in one small compartment:
• Jean, just 16 years old, is loud, brash, and eager to interface with the crew.
• Margaret, heavily pregnant and hiding her small dog, leaves behind all the care taking responsibilities she had for her father and brothers on the farm.
• Avice, the product of a wealthy family, hopes she’ll be able to find enough socially prominent women to hang with, to counter what she considers to be sub-standard travel conditions.
• Frances, a trained nurse, keeps to herself and shares little about her background or plans.
Through their four stories, we get to experience the courage and drama that surrounds the decision to uproot one’s life and make such a trip, when happy endings are not guaranteed. And where the temptations of a male crew are all around.
It’s an engaging story, if not a compelling read. But I still prefer other Moyes books to this one.