THE SHIP OF BRIDES by JoJo Moyes.
The year is 1946, and all over the world young women are crossing the sea in their thousands en route to the men they married in wartime, and an unknown future. In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other brides and hundreds of naval officers on an extraordinary voyage to England - aboard the Victoria.
Rules of honour, duty and separation are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier's captain down to the lowest young stoker. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined in ways the Navy could never have imagined ......
And Frances Mckenzie, an enigmatic young bride whose past comes back to haunt her thousands of miles from home - will find that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.
...... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): The first time I saw her again, I felt as if I'd been hit.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 240): Loads of woman littering up the place with their washing and nail varnish and frillies and what-have-you. Wandering around in their next-to-nothings, distracting the men from their work. My boys have opened a book on how many little Victors and Victorias will be running around in nine months time.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: Without a doubt I'll be keeping this one.
A brilliant read, one of my favourites this year.
Not for a long time have I found myself so caught up in the fate of the characters of a book - and I'm not just talking about the four brides who make up the main body of the story but also Captain Highfield, his crew, and even the Victoria herself. Yes, hard to believe I found myself so concerned about what would happen to this old ship but I did.
Mainly the story of Margaret, Jean, Avice and Frances, The Ship Of Brides is based on a true story. With a real tearjerker of an ending, it has more ups and downs than, well, a ship on a stormy sea.
But its not just about the 'brides' journey to their new homes. We also get glimpses into their home lives, the reasons why they chose to become war bides. Fascinating reading, this only added to the story and left me feeling as if I really new the women as whole people.
Educational as well as a good read, each chapter begins with a diary/newspaper extract chronicling some of the experiences of the actual experiences of those involved, I certainly wish to find out more about the actual Ship(s) of Brides.
All in all unputdownable, I found myself reading until silly o' clock only to start reading again the minute my eyes were open. I could go on (and on) raving about what I found to be an exceptional read but instead would urge you to read it yourself.
A book exchange read, this was the 70th book I read for the 100+ Reading Challenge.