The year is 1946, and all over the world, young women are crossing the seas in the thousands en route to the men they married in wartime - and an unknown future. In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other brides on an extraordinary voyage to England, aboard the HMS Victoria, which also carries not just arms and aircraft but 1,000 naval officers and men. Rules of honour, duty, and separation are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier's captain down to the lowliest young stoker. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined in ways the Navy could never have imagined.
Kathryn - 4 Star
I loved One Plus One (the last Jojo Moyes novel I read) so much that I was thrilled to grab this earlier book of hers. I was a bit surprised that although it was an equally wonderful story, it took me some time to adapt to the different style, period and pace- I had been drawn into One Plus One from the first page.
Moyes’ writing was just as good but The Ship of Brides was more difficult to get stuck in to. There were a number of different characters and I definitely found it a bit tricky to keep them straight. I almost wish that we'd been introduced to each person once they were already on board the ship because that may have shortened up the start of the novel which caused me once to wonder if I should keep reading. I’m very, very glad I did though because I suddenly realized one day that I’d sorted everyone out and had become engrossed. I read the second half in a quarter of the time it took me to read the first half.
Once their stories melded together I got a much better sense of each of the women and who they were. Maggie was the most likeable character and yet she had her fair share of difficulties both before and after the crossing. I was genuinely happy for her ending. Moyes also made me empathetic towards the other main characters and developed a good idea of the different class system struggles when people were thrown together in one small room
The best part for me was when all the women's stories had been finally told. I wished there had been more about their lives after arriving in England but all in all the whole novel opened my eyes to a number of aspects of wartime. The Ship of Brides was great, if a little drawn out on occasion.
Thank you to Penguin Books for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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