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GI Brides
Cover of GI Brides
GI Brides
The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
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For readers enchanted by the bestsellers The Astronaut Wives Club, The Girls of Atomic City, and Summer at Tiffany's, an absorbing tale of romance and resilience—the true story of four British women who crossed the Atlantic for love, coming to America at the end of World War II to make a new life with the American servicemen they married.

The "friendly invasion" of Britain by over a million American G.I.s bewitched a generation of young women deprived of male company during the Second World War. With their exotic accents, smart uniforms, and aura of Hollywood glamour, the G.I.s easily conquered their hearts, leaving British boys fighting abroad green with envy. But for girls like Sylvia, Margaret, Gwendolyn, and even the skeptical Rae, American soldiers offered something even more tantalizing than chocolate, chewing gum, and nylon stockings: an escape route from Blitz-ravaged Britain, an opportunity for a new life in affluent, modern America.

Through the stories of these four women, G.I. Brides illuminates the experiences of war brides who found themselves in a foreign culture thousands of miles away from family and friends, with men they hardly knew. Some struggled with the isolation of life in rural America, or found their soldier less than heroic in civilian life. But most persevered, determined to turn their wartime romance into a lifelong love affair, and prove to those back home that a Hollywood ending of their own was possible.

G.I. Brides includes an eight-pages insert that features 45-black-and-white photos.

For readers enchanted by the bestsellers The Astronaut Wives Club, The Girls of Atomic City, and Summer at Tiffany's, an absorbing tale of romance and resilience—the true story of four British women who crossed the Atlantic for love, coming to America at the end of World War II to make a new life with the American servicemen they married.

The "friendly invasion" of Britain by over a million American G.I.s bewitched a generation of young women deprived of male company during the Second World War. With their exotic accents, smart uniforms, and aura of Hollywood glamour, the G.I.s easily conquered their hearts, leaving British boys fighting abroad green with envy. But for girls like Sylvia, Margaret, Gwendolyn, and even the skeptical Rae, American soldiers offered something even more tantalizing than chocolate, chewing gum, and nylon stockings: an escape route from Blitz-ravaged Britain, an opportunity for a new life in affluent, modern America.

Through the stories of these four women, G.I. Brides illuminates the experiences of war brides who found themselves in a foreign culture thousands of miles away from family and friends, with men they hardly knew. Some struggled with the isolation of life in rural America, or found their soldier less than heroic in civilian life. But most persevered, determined to turn their wartime romance into a lifelong love affair, and prove to those back home that a Hollywood ending of their own was possible.

G.I. Brides includes an eight-pages insert that features 45-black-and-white photos.

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About the Author-
  • Duncan Barrett & Nuala Calvi are the bestselling authors of GI Brides and The Sugar Girls. Duncan studied English at Cambridge and now works as a writer and editor, specializing in biography and memoir. Nuala is a writer and journalist. She trained at London College of Printing and has written for The Times, The Independent, the BBC, CNN, and numerous Time Out books. They both live in London.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2014
    The love stories of four British women who married American soldiers.When American soldiers flooded the streets of London and the surrounding English countryside during World War II, British girls were swept off their feet. Barrett and Calvi (The Sugar Girls, 2012, etc.) bring together the stories of four war brides-Sylvia, Gwendolyn, Rae and Margaret-who fell in love with these men in uniform. Little did they know how much their lives would change once the war was over or that they were expected to live in America with their new husbands, far from the land and culture with which they were familiar. The authors' prose is saturated with details of life during and after the war, which brings readers into that era, when the chance to live in America meant a house of one's own, modern conveniences and affluence. For each of these four women, the American dream didn't necessarily turn out to be glamorous. One struggled to raise her children on mere pennies while her husband spent all his wages on alcohol, and another faced skepticism from her husband's family as to whether she was a suitable bride. When surrounded by a group of strangers, another longed for home, where she felt understood-not like in America, where "these people had no idea who she was or what she had been through." Another battled against her husband's gambling addiction. But despite their hardships, these women soldiered on and tried to make the best of their situations. Alternating among the women, the authors bring to light the joys and sorrows of each woman, but readers may find it easier to read each story in its entirety before switching to another one. Entertaining stories about four women who embraced life with American soldiers after the end of World War II.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    September 15, 2014

    After the end of World War II, an estimated 70,000 British women migrated to the United States to marry soldiers they met during the conflict. Although their experiences varied, all the women shared the task of adapting to a new country without the benefit of family and friends. Nearly 70 years after the initial arrival of the women, coauthors Barrett and Calvi (Sugar Girls) reunited to compile the accounts of 60 brides throughout the States. The result of their efforts is an archive that provides access to some of the oral histories collected (available online at gibrides.com), as well as contemporary stories of four GI brides. Their narratives illuminate the challenges faced by these women along with the ups and downs of their experiences during and after the war. VERDICT While serious scholars might prefer Jenel Virden's well-documented and more analytical Good-Bye, Piccadilly: British War Brides in America, most readers will find this chronicle an entertaining vehicle for learning about the British GI brides' experiences.--Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. Lib., PA

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    September 15, 2014
    During WWII, when thousands of American GIs were stationed in Britain, thousands of young British women were testing their newfound freedom born of war conditions. They were working as secretaries and in war factories, lending their efforts as hostesses and recruits in the armed services, warned away from the GIs by their parents, brothers, and other British troops. But how could they resist the exotic accents and glamour of relatively more prosperous young men as hungry for romantic adventure as they were? Barrett and Calvi profile four young womenSylvia, Rae, Margaret, and Gwendolynas they met and eventually married American GIs. When VE Day finally came, they were among the 70,000 women who traveled to the U.S. as GI brides. What they found was the reality of a very different culture, sometimes rural isolation, an ocean away from their friends and families, married to men they barely knew. Barrett and Calvi chronicle the journey each woman took as she managed to make a new life for herself and her new family.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

  • Daily Mail (London) "Beautifully rounded portraits ... delightful and touching."
  • The Londonist "This is a treasure box of testimonies from a very different world, and one that will soon slip from living memory. Kudos to the authors for capturing these memories for posterity, and in such a readable, touching way."
  • Jacqueline Winspear, New York Times Bestselling Author Much has been written about the British "G.I. Brides" of World War II, but perhaps never before with such honesty, compassion, emotional insight and intimacy. I loved this book, and once picked up, it was really hard to put down.
  • Erika Robuck, bestselling author of FALLEN BEAUTY "GI BRIDES includes two authors, four women, and the countless trials and triumphs of wartime romance. Nuala Calvi and Duncan Barrett deftly portray love and heartbreak in riveting narratives that consume the reader from the opening paragraph to the last perfect sentence."
  • Marjorie Hart, New York Times bestselling author of Summer at Tiffany Heartbreaking yet tender, these British wartime brides face the high cost of marrying GIs they scarcely know and courageously reclaim their lives a thousand miles from home and family. Rich in historical detail and masterfully researched
  • Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home Truly fascinating insight into the experiences of the war brides; remarkable women whose lives were transformed by war and the American GIs who stole their hearts.
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The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
Duncan Barrett
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