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War Brides [Kindle Edition]

Helen Bryan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,082 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The National Bestseller

With war threatening to spread from Europe to England, the sleepy village of Crowmarsh Priors settles into a new sort of normal: Evacuees from London are billeted in local homes. Nightly air raids become grimly mundane. The tightening vice of rationing curtails every comfort. Men leave to fight and die. And five women forge an unlikely bond of friendship that will change their lives forever.

Alice Osbourne, the stolid daughter of the late vicar, is reeling from the news that Richard Fairfax broke their engagement to marry Evangeline Fontaine, an American girl from the Deep South. Evangeline’s arrival causes a stir in the village—but not the chaos that would ensue if they knew her motives for being there. Scrappy Elsie Pigeon is among the poor of London who see the evacuations as a chance to escape a life of destitution. Another new arrival is Tanni Zayman, a young Jewish girl who fled the horrors of Europe and now waits with her newborn son, certain that the rest of her family is safe and bound to show up any day. And then there’s Frances Falconleigh, a madcap, fearless debutante whose father is determined to keep her in the countryside and out of the papers.

As the war and its relentless hardships intensify around them, the same struggles that threaten to rip apart their lives also bring the five closer together. They draw strength from one another to defeat formidable enemies—hunger, falling bombs, the looming threat of a Nazi invasion, and a traitor in their midst—and find remarkable strength within themselves to help their friends. Theirs is a war-forged loyalty that will outlast the fiercest battle and endure years and distance.

When four of the women return to Crowmarsh Priors for a VE Day celebration fifty years later, television cameras focus on the heartwarming story of these old women as war brides of a bygone age, but miss the more newsworthy angle. The women’s mission is not to commemorate or remember—they’ve returned to settle a score and avenge one of their own.

Revised edition: This edition of War Brides includes editorial revisions.

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Product Description


In 1939, as evacuation gets underway and Britain waits for the Luftwaffe to arrive, the lives of four very different women are about to collide in the sleepy little village of Crowmarsh Priors. Evangeline Fontaine has eloped from New Orleans with dashing naval captain Richard Fairfax. A Sussex village is about as far away from home as she can possibly imagine, away from memories of her first, passionate love. Alice Osbourne, living with her impossible mother, is resigned to life as the parish spinster since being jilted by her childhood sweetheart Richard. But the war will bring her friendships and passion she could never have foreseen. Tanni Joseph has fled from Vienna with her new husband, leaving her sisters to follow on the kindertransport. She arrives in Crowmarsh Priors with her newborn son, not knowing if her family are alive or if she will ever see them again... Frances Falconleigh is to see out the war with her godmother, Lady Marchmont, at Glebe House; her high spirits lead her into the ultimate danger to help her friend Tanni and are to turn her into a woman, almost overnight... Together these four women will face hardship, passion and danger. They form a bond that lasts for the rest of their lives and sees them through their darkest hours.

About the Author

Helen Bryan is the author of Martha Washington, First Lady of Liberty which received an Award for Merit from the New York Colonial Dames in 2003. This is her first novel. She lives in London where she works as a barrister.

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More About the Author

Helen Bryan was born in Virginia, grew up in Tennessee, graduated from Barnard College and since 1971 has lived in London where she qualified as a barrister and is a member of the Inner Temple.She has written a layman's guide to the English planning system "Planning Applications and Appeals" and a biography "Martha Washington First Lady of Liberty" which was awarded a Citation of Merit by the Colonial Dames of America. She has written a novel, a World War II romantic saga " War Brides" inspired by the stories and reminiscences of the wartime generation, especially those of women who joined Churchill's Special Operations Executive, and family holidays in a small East Sussex village where, according to local legend, an old smugglers' tunnel led from beneath a grave in the churchyard to the seacoast, obviously waiting for a story to be built around it.

Her next novel is another romantic saga, set in sixteenth century Spain and Spanish America

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Great Read" 16 Jan. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book. It was fast moving with lots of different stories interwoven throughout. The only thing that spoilt it a bit was the vast number of grammatical errors in the translation to ebook! Often had to re-read a passage to work out what it meant, with extra words or words missing or in the wrong order - over and over again.
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118 of 121 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story - Shame about the proofing 19 Jun. 2012
By Herkiel
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a rattling good story, following the lives of several women, thrown together by war. Having heard my mother's stories of wartime hardships, I found it very interesting and absorbing. What spoiled the book for me was the appalling proofing: words missing, parts of words missing, parts of sentences missing. At times it was so bad that it was difficult to make out what it should have been and it got worse the further into the book you read. It was as if the person given this novel to check gave it only a cursory look at the beginning and got more apathetic as the pages went by. Not good enough. I'm sure the author will be pretty cross that her work is being sold in this poor state.
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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very badly written and edited. 22 Jun. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have to agree with the reviewer Nicola Taunt. This book is appallingly written and edited. This is a shame as it probably has the potential for a reasonable story.

Some of the sentences don't actually make sense. The grammar and spelling would shame my 8 year old niece. The formatting is also very bad - though this may only relate to the Kindle edition.

I have only reached chapter 5, and the story hasn't really begun. Unfortunately I don't know if I can persevere with this book as I am becoming invreasingly irritated by the poor writing style and bad grammar. I don't understand why this book was published in this state.

Luckily I only paid 77p!

Update...........I did persevere with the book and did enjoy the story, if farfetched
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful and patronising 6 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I should have known I would hate this book the moment the author started going on about the museums she had seen in London and how everyone should know what London went through in the Blitz. Erm... Even school children in Britain understand what Londoners had to live through. So thank you nice American lady for assuming we all need her education on one of the most famous and defining moments of British civilian history.

Then there's the characters. How the devil could anyone even understand , let alone warm too, a woman who steals another woman's fiancé just so she can be closer to the man she actually loves. This didn't make her deep and three dimensional. This made her annoying and teeth grinding. Francis applying to part of SOE? Whatever. Francis sent into France with a certain female condition? Utterly dis-credible.

There are also plot lines that just get abandoned. At one point the big emphasis is on rescuing two little Jewish girls but suddenly one complication happens and that's it: sorry Jewish girls , you may have miraculously escaped through Nazi occupied France and magically found transport to the Sussex Coast but now it's all in vain.

And this Sussex Coast business is silly too. You can tell the author looked at a map and thought 'oh England is really small so places in this area of the Sussex Coast must all be in walking distance of each other, England being so small and all!' No towns within a short walking distance of Brighton are on the London to Brighton mainline. There are only two towns that could fit the authors description of the location. I live in one of them, and there is no way smuggler tunnels would stretch that far inland or that the characters could walk to Brighton from in a morning.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the story in this book, which is well conceived and written, with likeable characters. It makes for an easy read and I would recommend it, with one reservation; it doesn't appear to have been proof read at any stage! Pages seem oddly formatted for Kindle, with chapters appearing half way down the page (odd as it appears to have been published directly by Amazon), and the book is riddled with incoherent sentences that are badly punctuated, misspelled and often missing pronouns and even verbs. You'd usually expect to spot one or two bloopers in the entirety of a book, but there is at least one per page in this one, which makes it extremely difficult to get into the book properly, as it interrupts the flow of writing while you constantly try to piece together the intended meaning. In conclusion - a good read, needlessly spoiled by careless proofreading. Understand it's a cheapie but it's also a bestseller - not a quality edition!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read 10 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brilliant story, it weaves a spell, mixing WW11 and modern times, romance, sadness and revenge taking you back and forth, which made putting the book down to do other things extremely hard, as you just needed to know what happens next. It kept me on tenterhooks right to the end, and what a surprising finale, not at all what I expected.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars War Brides 30 Jan. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I agree with the reviewer who says this is a disappointing book. The events are so unlikely as to be ludicrous. The characters are stereotypes and the action stilted and not credible.
The book is riddled with spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, and poor editing. This makes it even more annoying to read.
Luckily it was only 77p! Just about worth it.
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