The Ship of Brides, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The 2005 novel The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes, the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award. Australia, 1946. 650 brides are departing for England to meet the men they married in wartime.

But instead of the luxury liner they were expecting, they find themselves aboard an aircraft carrier, alongside a thousand men. On the sun-baked decks, old loves and past promises become distant memories, and tensions are stretched to the limit as brides and husbands change their minds. And for Frances Mackenzie, one bride in particular, it soon becomes clear that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.




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1946. World War II has ended and all over the world, young women are beginning to fulfill the promises made to the men they wed in wartime.In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England—aboard HMS Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young deckhand. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her far from home, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted—forever.

Review by

The story opens in 2002 with some drama in India. This is not explained until the end - and felt like a ploy to introduce the main part of the book, rather than being entirely necessary. <br/><br/>The rest of the novel takes place in 1946, when a boatload of Australian brides are en route to the UK to be reunited with their husbands. Although the characters are fictional, they are based on real people. At the start of each chapter is a brief quotation written by some of the people involved at the time. The general feel is authentic. <br/><br/>Different chapters are written from the different perspectives of some of the main characters, giving a good picture of what life would have been like for these courageous women who crossed the world to be with their husbands, some of them uncertain whether they would ever see their home and families again. <br/><br/>I found the book interesting, but as a novel, it didn't really work for me. It was more like a series of anecdotes than a real plot, and I didn’t warm much to any of the characters. The ending was satisfying, and made sense, but didn’t feel like part of the book.<br/><br/>I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys realistic historical fiction without a strong storyline. It would probably make good holiday reading. The writing is good, and at times I could almost imagine the situations.

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