Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication date: October 28, 2014
Category: Historical fiction
Source: I received this e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I read my first Jojo Moyes, Me Before You, this past summer (my review). I enjoyed it and knew I'd read another of Moyes's books when one came across my path. Sure enough, I soon found The Ship of Brides on NetGalley and here we are.
The Ship of Brides is historical fiction about a topic on which I've read very little: women who married soldiers during WWII and later left their homes to join their husbands on foreign soil. Goodreads has a concise summary: 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 honor, 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.
The story follows four women making this journey to their husbands. They come from different walks of life - the farmer girl, the socialite, the unruly sixteen-year-old, and mysterious war nurse - and don't always mesh well. I cannot imagine traveling six+ weeks in such living conditions as the aircraft carrier Moyes describes! I would be freaking out the first day on board. Besides the confines of the ship, there are so many issues that arise to knock the brides' lives off course. Husbands who change their minds, rival brides, and checkered pasts all make an already challenging situation nearly impossible.
I have to say, I found the two books surprisingly different. Me Before You was a good story that seemed like just that, a good story with a touch of romance, which I had no problem with. The Ship of Brides seems more literary. I'm sure the true-to-life setting impacts the tone and mood greatly. As different as I felt they were, I enjoyed both books. If I had to pick a favorite of the two, I'd say The Ship of Brides; however, be aware that the literary feel (historical fiction genre) sways me.
Do you have a preference when it comes to "the feel" a book gives you (such as literary, etc.)?