* CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Ship of Brides is based on the real life journey of 650 Australian women who sailed to England following World War II to be reunited with the army and navy men they wed during the war. For many women, it is their first trip away from home and the comforts they are used to enjoying. Jean, Avice, Maggie and Frances are four of the brides thrown together on the ship with little in common other than their Australian passports and the insecurities that haunt them along the way. Did they make the right decision to leave home? Do their husbands still love them? What life is waiting for them in England?
Although I liked many things about The Ship of Brides (the history, setting and characters, heck even the book’s title), I found most interesting how the navy tried to create a suitable living situation for the women and how the brides survived weeks of living in such cramped conditions with a bunch of sailors. I think if I was stuck on a ship for six weeks, I would be incredibly grateful for a cheesy talent show and seminars on three ingredient meals and living with a husband who has PTSD.
Unfortunately, I found The Ship of Brides predictable and sometimes a little boring. The flashback at the beginning felt too long and flash forward at the end too cliché. The four brides in the story were interesting because of their contrasting personalities, but there was no real camaraderie between them and I was fairly indifferent towards their characters.
After reading Me Before You and One Plus One, I fell in love with Jojo Moyes and thought this book was a guaranteed good read. The Ship of Brides wasn’t gawd-awful, but it wasn’t a page-turner either. I still love the history behind the plot and how it commemorates all of the women who made the journey, including Jojo Moyes’ grandmother! But I have to agree with many other readers that while the premise is fantastic, somehow the execution of the story could have been better.
PLEASE NOTE: I received an ARC of The Ship of Brides with much thanks to Penguin Canada, but this in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in my review.