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Guest post by LH Member Jane Young.

GI Brides, Duncan Barratt and Nuala CalviG I Brides is an account four of young women who married American servicemen and what became of them. The narrative takes you through London in the Blitz, war torn England then across the Atlantic and back again.

Beautifully written, it manages to seamlessly combine oral history with well-researched social history. The retelling of the excitement, romance, fears and hardships the G I brides experienced is engaging throughout.

Commencing with life during the Second World War, it goes on to depict poverty; housing conditions; alcoholism; gambling addiction; domestic violence; and single parenthood in post war society. The journeys of four very courageous women, to the United States and through life are described with pathos whilst remaining refreshingly devoid of unnecessary drama or resorting to rose-tinted nostalgia.

Gwendolyn, Rae, Margaret and Sylvia are just four of the 70,000 British women who undertook a life-changing move to another country during a time of turmoil.  Their stories are probably no more or less extraordinary than many of the other G I brides, but nonetheless remarkable they certainly are. The difficulties they encountered are described with honesty and humour alongside meticulous attention to detail which accurately illustrates the backdrop of everyday day life during wartime and the post-war era.

An immensely readable history of real people and the life they encountered, a fascinating rendition which culminates in a poignant explanation for the inspiration behind telling their story.

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GI Brides by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi is published by HarperCollins with a cover price of £7.99 although it is available for less.

By the same authors: The Sugar Girlsour review.

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