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.
Thank you to Penguin Books via Netgalley for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
Did I like this book?
I used to read nothing but historical fiction, and this book reminded me of why I loved that genre so much! It's got everything I want in a more involved read - characters with depth, a setting that draws me in and I can clearly picture in my mind, and an impeccably paced plot.
When I first read the title, I was picturing a ship full of mail order brides, but it turns out that the women on the ship are already married. These are women who have met and married British soldiers while they were stationed in Australia. Not only are the women starting a new life as a wife to someone they barely know, they are also leaving their families and country, possibly for the rest of their lives! For most of them, the trip to England on this retired war ship is the first time they've ever been truly independent, and many of them are so young, still children by today's standards. Moyes does a wonderful job of expressing the different attitudes of the brides. Most are excited at starting this new phase of their lives, but some are rightfully terrified and homesick. Still others are whiney about the conditions on the ship and having to mingle with girls of a lower class - I'm looking at you, Avice! Throw in several hundred single men manning the ship, and you have an especially interesting dynamic!
Will you like this book?
"The Ship of Brides" has a little bit of everything - romance, history, drama, suspense, and mystery, not to mention great writing! I think that most people will really like this book, and I will probably be recommending it to everyone.
Will I read more by this author?
This is the second book I've read by Jojo Moyes, and I already have one more of hers on my shelf and another on my TBR. For a new-to-me author, she is quickly becoming one of my favourites!