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GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,923 ratings  ·  384 reviews
GI Brides by Duncan Barrett has descriptive copy which is not yet available from the Publisher.
Published September 2nd 2014 by HarperAudio (first published August 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  2,923 ratings  ·  384 reviews

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Luanne Ollivier
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle of GI Brides by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi is: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love.

Over one million American GI's 'invaded' England during the Second World War . And by the end of the war, over 70,000 women had married American servicemen and headed to the United States to start a new chapter in their lives.

Barrett and Calvi's book documents the lives of four of these women - Sylvia, Gwendolyn, Rae and Margaret, from the early days of the war, to meeting their
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-borrowed
After all, we're British, we can stand anything.

I recently picked this up at my local library and it can only be summed up to be a real treasure that I almost passed upon. This book presents the story of four GI Brides -Sylvia, Rae, Margaret, and Gwendolyn(Lyn) and their lives during the war years, their courtships, and the new lives they made for themselves in postwar America. Each story was incredibly important and I thank these women for putting their stories out to the reading public.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because the book is setup in such a way that it follows a mostly linear timeline for multiple women it was hard in the beginning to follow and keep track of which bride was being discussed however I found this to be an interesting look at what a few of the women who married us military men abroad in WWII went through.
Very interesting book about 4 English women who help with the war effort during WW-II, meet American soldiers and become war brides.
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
"The US Army was not keen on its soldiers marrying while on duty abroad, and the process of obtaining permission to wed was an elaborate one. A commanding officer had to approve the application, and write a letter to the civil or church authority who would conduct the marriage, having interviewed the GI in question. The potential bride was also subject to questioning, usually by an army chaplain, and was required to provide character references. The Army did its best to dissuade prospective ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting stories, but ultimately a pretty depressing read.

GI Brides explores the lives of four British women who marry American soldiers during World War II and emigrate to the United States. Their motivations vary, but all marry for love. Unfortunately, most will find their new life to be a difficult adjustment, followed by bitter disappointment.

The men they marry aren't detailed, and we have little understanding of why they'd choose to bring home a war bride from
A.L. Sowards
This book followed four English women who met Americans during WWII and eventually married them and moved to the United States.

The first part of the book was almost like a mix of four different romance novels. The author rotated through the four women’s stories, and at times it was hard to keep track of who was who, but they captured the feel of WWII England and the “friendly invasion” by the Yanks. (If I had been reading a hard copy instead of listening to the audiobook, I probably would have
Colleen Turner
Find my full review at

I just love WWII history! There is such an amalgamation of beauty and romance, horror and desolation that I seem to be transfixed with these stories no matter what angle they take. In GI Brides we get another interesting angle (and one I haven't read yet): that of the English women who fell in love with the American men that flooded their shores and that left behind everything to follow these men to a country they knew so little about.
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

My interest in GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi was inspired by my paternal grandmother. She passed away while I was very young and while I've no memory her, I've often pondered her situation and the strength it must have taken to come to the United States with a child in one hand and a marriage certificate in the other. Her personal story is lost to me, but I'd
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-ww2
I really wanted to love this book. I pre-ordered it and was very excited when it landed in my kindle. Unfortunately I found it a bit disappointing. I wanted to care about these women and root for their marriages to survive but I found I was only mildly engaged. It read more like four long Wikipedia entries, without any real depth or analysis. I also found the constant switching between stories to be irritating. Perhaps it's a symptom of the lightweight content that I struggled to recall previous ...more
Kerry Dunn
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
My mom passed me this book after she read it and I picked it up for something different than my usual fiction. I'm glad I did. These women's stories were engaging and inspiring. As a modern woman who gave birth recently this book made me very, very thankful I was not a woman giving birth in the 1940s! War is Hell and falling in love in the midst of war seems only natural. To cling to something tangible and hopeful is understandable. It's unfortunate that the love found during the heightened ...more
Jan 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book as a 99-cent Kindle special, and this book was definitely worth more than its purchase price. It's the story of four British women who married American GI's and came to the States as war brides. This is no fairy tale story of love blooming ass the bombs fall & then a happy ever afterwards in the golden land of America. Instead we see how very young girls fell for the romance of not only American GI's, but also the myth of America and how brutal the reality was for many of ...more
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book concentrates on four young English women; Gwendolyn, Rae, Margaret and Sylvia, just four amongst the thousands that left Britain at the end of World War II to follow their new husbands home to the United States. The authors have carried out many many interviews and have put together a wonderfully informative, entertaining and poignant look at what life was really like for these women. Duncan Barrett's co-author; Nuala Calvi is the granddaughter of Margaret, which just makes her ...more
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very different WWII story. The true story is about four English women who meet, fell in love and finally married American soldiers. Their lives in America were challenging. Missing their families and friends, financial troubles, alcoholism, gambling, language and food differences, hostile in-laws, personal illnesses, and pregnancies are just some problems these women experienced. Despite these challenges, these women made lives for themselves that were fulfilling and productive. Their ...more
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, history
Where are the stories of marriages that endured and were happy? I realize it was probably hard, but these all felt so depressing, surely there were more happy marriages to tell as well. I liked it, but I wanted to like it more.
Sara G
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an easy and interesting read about 4 Englishwomen who married American GIs they met during WWII and moved to the states to live with their new husbands. Each chapter rotated to a different woman so it kept all four on a similar timeline, and their stories were each so different that I didn't find myself getting confused. We get to hear about how they lived in England, how they met and reacted to the American GIs, how they got to the US, and how they lived their lives there. True stories ...more
Charly Troff (ReaderTurnedWriter)
Wow, this was one of my favorite books of the year!

It's a nonfiction, but I actually didn't realize that until after I finished the book. I loved each character we followed (there were 4 brides) and seeing the way they each handled the situations they faced. I cheered for them, saw red when certain characters were jerks, and cried with them.

At the beginning of the book, I would have to reorient myself as to which bride is was we were following, but I felt the transitions were handled smoothly.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook-read
The book got many things right – especially what many Brits thought of Americans during the war (my family loves to tell me stories all the time – they are proud of their steadfastness!! :) Pushy and brash American GI’s, “overpaid, oversexed and over here” – truth! I think both authors made good use of “romanticizing” the relationships/timeframe to really make the women stories seemed real enough (with blended & tweaked situations).

I appreciated the factual news stories and government
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This one was just okay for me. I liked the ending more than the beginning and the middle. This book nonfiction and takes a look at wartime brides that immigrated to the U.S. because they've fallen in love with an American Soldier.

The biggest problem I had with this one was that there were too many similarities in the different stories. All the stories featured a poor little English mite of a girl, and they all married American losers with horrific inlaws. It was all the same
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just loved this book! The stories of these four women profiled in this book not only broke my heart at times but also enlightened me to something I knew little about. I always knew about Asian War Brides but never thought of European ones and what they went through. I just love women’s history and this is no exception. Highly recommend.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
GI Brides starts during the war and wraps decades later. In the earlier chapters it's easy to get couples mixed up as they go in turns. As the new couples get to know each other, though, and personality quirks, habits, strengths and weaknesses are revealed, each couple grows their own flavor, if you will. I found it interesting & appalling at the same time. The writing isn't appalling, not at all. The thought of leaving your family and crossing the ocean to spend maybe forever with someone ...more
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Toby Sue
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

Interesting story of women who came to this country ascGI brides and their struggles and lives. Reportorial style writing kept me interested throughout.
S. Nichols
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A non-fiction book about the war in England and the girls who married American GI’s. Quite an eye opener to what they endured.
Laura Edwards
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
3.5 stars.

The book is written in a fairly simplistic fashion, but an engaging subject matter nevertheless.

I liked how the authors chose to focus on four specific women instead of a general overview (although this also caused problems as mentioned in the latter part of this review). The reader becomes more invested in the individual stories while also being offered a diverse sample of the war brides experience in America. The last in regards to their husbands, not so much.

By the end of the book,
Nancy Kennedy
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1942, hundreds of thousands of American servicemen "invaded" England, once the United States entered World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. But by then, British had been fighting for two years, and the country had been emptied of young men. Into the void stepped these exotic, carefree, charming and seemingly wealthy young Americans. British women were intoxicated with their presence and flattered by their attentions.

GI Brides tells the true stories of four of these women ‒ Margaret,
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When America entered WW 2, many soldiers were sent to England as a staging ground for attacks on the continent. With many British men already fighting in Europe (or wounded or dead), the influx of relatively well paid young GIs found a country full of young women willing to date them. With the threat of battle immanent, both men and women grabbed at happiness and married without knowing each other well at all. When the war ended and the GIs were sent home, their young brides went with them- on ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting content, but very poorly written.
Katie/Doing Dewey
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the very beginning of the book, I felt that the third person narrative imposed a distance between me and the women in the stories. This got better as I went and got more engaged in the stories. In particular, the pictures in the middle and the conclusion both made me feel more connected to the women because they really brought home the fact that these were true stories. There were also some very moving scenes throughout as all the women overcame incredible odds. Their stories would be ...more
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Duncan grew up in London and read English at Jesus College, Cambridge. He is the editor of Ronald Skirth's First World War memoir The Reluctant Tommy (Macmillan, 2010) and co-author of Star Trek: The Human Frontier (Polity, 2000) and Zippy and Me: The Remarkable Life in Puppets of Rainbow's Ronnie Le Drew (forthcoming, 2011). He also works as an actor and occasional theatre director.
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