Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Review: The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

Title: The Ship of Brides
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher:  Hodder
Pages: 512
Genres: Historical Fiction

Australia, 1946. 650 brides are departing for England to meet the men they married in wartime. But instead of the luxury liner they were expecting, they find themselves aboard an aircraft carrier, alongside a thousand men.

On the sun-baked decks, old loves and past promises become distant memories, and tensions are stretched to the limit as brides and husbands change their minds. And for Frances Mackenzie, one bride in particular, it soon becomes clear that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.
I love historical fiction as it generally is the genre that can focus on obscure details/events in history. I had no idea that brides were shipped to England and the U.S. after the war, in order to be with their husbands, who they had hastily married during the war. What a fascinating premise for a story. Needless to say I was excited to dive into The Ship of Brides.

The story follows four women from Australia who had married a British serviceman who were deployed to their country during the war. There is heavily pregnant Margaret, who is from a sheep farm; Avice, an upper class woman with ambitions to enter British high society; Jean, an illiterate sixteen year old girl, excited to start a new life away from her poor beginnings; and Frances, a nurse who is trying to escape her past. These characters all share the same room  on the ship, and drama/gossip ensues.

I was expecting there to be more of a romantic element than there was. The front cover of my edition promises a story that is 'wonderfully romantic and moving', but I didn't think there was much romance to speak of. One of the women catches the eye of one of the marines but nothing happens until literally the last couple of chapters. I was a bit disappointed because I was expecting a good romance. However, I did enjoy this book on the whole even though it is quite slow paced and long (my edition was over 500 pages). When I reached the final page, there wasn't much payoff and I wanted to know more details of what happened to everybody next, especially Jean and Margaret.

I think this book is a great look into the society of the time and what went on in these 'bride ships', but overall this was just an average read for me.

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