Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bon Voyage

"I suppose I hadn't believed in Fate until that point.
But it's hard not to, when you think how far we had both come.
Hard not to when you think that there was no way across miles, continents, vast oceans, we were meant to see each other again."
--Jojo Moyes, The Ship of Brides

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction and Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 464
Publication Date: October 28th, 2014
Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: Me Before You & One Plus One & The Girl You Left Behind & Silver Bay
Goodreads Description

From the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You and One Plus One, a post-WWII story of the war brides who crossed the seas by the thousands to face their unknown futures

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.
The Women

Because OBVIOUSLY this would not be a Jojo Moyes book without me falling head over heels in love with the characters. This book follows four women, all Australian brides getting on a ship to Britain to be reunited with their husbands. Their journeys are all vastly different but connected in that they are all sharing the same cabin. Maggie, a farm girl who is also pregnant by her husband is down to earth, sweet, caring, and kind. She sees people for who they are and treats everyone with long as they deserve it. Even though she doesn't believe she has it, I loved her motherly tendencies toward the other characters. She was the rock and glue that kind of held them all together. Jean, a 16 year old girl who wants nothing more than to be loved. She's one of those characters you're quick to dislike because of how she is presented initially but she grew on me so much. I love love love her. She is crass yet naive in so many ways. Avice...wasn't my favorite. She is a high society type and very stuck in her ways and her judgements. Superficial, self-absorbed, the works. She grows on me just a little and her story arc is one of the more interesting ones to say the least.

And then there's Frances. *sigh* Frances. I didn't know what to think of her introverted, closed-off self at first except there is way more to this girl than what meets the eye. She is quiet, shy, and a little more than nervous around people. She is also a nurse (woot woot!) who has seen the horrors of war more than most women. She is strong and capable and independent. She is such a fantastic character and seeing more and more of her inner thoughts and figuring out what happened in her past was the best part of the story for me.

The Friendships

While not everything was smooth sailing and these women rocked the boat more than once (see what I did there?), I loved the dynamic between all the women. They did not always get along and I wanted to punch one of them more than a few times but their relationships drove the book. They shared their thoughts and fears and were there to support one another when they needed it. At the end of the day, it wasn't every man or woman for himself, they fought for each other and it was beautiful.

The Ship

This ship took on a life of it's own. It's our only setting and it became a character in itself with the Captain acting as it's beating heart. The Captain was a constant throughout the book and reading his thoughts on the ridiculousness of transporting these women was hilarious. He is not perfect and he makes some decisions I don't agree with but he sneaks up on you in the endearing departments. I really liked how devoted he was to running a tight ship and caring for The Victoria and it's precious cargo.

The Story

The story overall was just...captivating. The lives of these women fascinated me as did the entire premise of this story. All these women in shotgun-esque weddings not knowing if they were going to be happy with their husbands they hardly knew. It's fascinating and terrifying. The fact that this actually happened and so many men had foreign brides from the war is a little unbelievable almost. I loved getting the background of how they all met their husbands, their thoughts while en route to meet them, and then a fantastic and surprising story aboard the ship I wanted to badly to happen but wasn't sure what the outcome would be. No spoilers but I pretty much combusted out with happy tears of joys at the end. I was also laughing with happiness. It was so good. Just so so good.

The Unfairness

This isn't really a criticism or critique of the writing AT ALL but I find when I don't have anything negative to say really, I'll put what ticked me off in regards to necessary plot. Example, I hated how it was okay for people to judge others so harshly. I will not give away what the secret of Frances' past is but I'd be lying if I said I didn't see red in the way people treated her. It made me want to get physical on somebody. Women are harsh and mean creatures and this highlighted how horrible women can be to one another. Add in that it's 1946 and reputation is everything and the only thing, my heart just bled for the unfairness of it all. See? Not a negative, just something I felt strongly about :)

Complex characterizations, emotional story lines, strong female heroines. This book has everything and more and is yet another Jojo Moyes VIP book. 


  1. I started this library book and had to return it before I got very far into it and it made me really sad. I was only a couple of chapters in! Totally plan to read it all the way through, though. I think I picked up the All Souls Trilogy after and I've been working on those since August 1, ha! You liked it - I'll love it. Plus, it's Jojo.

  2. This makes me really excited to get this one! I love Jojo!


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