Friday, August 22, 2014

The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes


The Ship of Brides
by Jojo Moyes
Penguin Books, 2014
originally published in 2005
496 pages
source: Netgalley (via publisher for review consideration)

Summary (from goodreads):

The year is 1946, and all over the world, young women are crossing the seas in the thousands en route to the men they married in wartime - and an unknown future. In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other brides on an extraordinary voyage to England, aboard the HMS Victoria, which also carries not just arms and aircraft but 1,000 naval officers and men. Rules of honour, duty, and separation are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier's captain down to the lowliest young stoker. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined in ways the Navy could never have imagined.

My thoughts:

Jojo Moyes has done it again! Actually, she did it about ten years ago, but The Ship of Brides  has recently become available to US readers in digital format, with the paperback release scheduled for later this fall.

Since December, I have read four of  Jojo Moyes' novels and am struck by how different they are. Some authors seem to hit upon a formula or theme and rework it again and again, while each of Moyes' novels seems fresh and new. Me Before You  is a contemporary story told from alternating viewpoints, The Girl You Left Behind  features dual story lines, past and present, which ultimately converge, and Honeymoon in Paris is a novella and prequel to The Girl You Left Behind.

The Ship of Brides is basically historical fiction with a present-day beginning and end. After WWII, hundreds of young Australian brides board a navy ship which will carry them to England to be reunited with their new husbands. I love it when some small kernel of history provides fodder for a novel, and the post-war time period is a favorite. The combination of brides, crew, close quarters, and a long journey certainly makes for some interesting reading.

Moyes gives us a wide variety of characters whose dialog and interactions always ring true. However, the number of characters made the beginning of the novel slow-going for me. I read the first several chapters in small, short bursts over the course of nearly a week and initially had a hard time keeping the characters straight. Perhaps that would not have been the case if I'd read the first few chapters in one sitting. That being said, I tore through the last half of The Ship of Brides  in under 24 hours - simply couldn't put it down!

As Jojo Moyes continues to work on new novels, US readers can now wander through her backlist. I, for one, look forward to the journey.

Bottom line: Fans of Jojo Moyes won't want to miss The Ship of Brides.

My rating:

28 comments:

  1. She has such talent; can't wait to try this one as well.

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    1. Diane - I want to read all of her books!

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  2. I have a review of this coming up too. I loved it!

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    1. Jill - Can't wait to read your review!

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  3. I knew a WWII bride who came from England to join her American husband, but I've never read much about the war brides who went to the UK. I will put this on my reading list (waiting for the paperback).

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    1. Lisa - You don't have too much longer to wait!

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  4. I'm so glad to see her back list getting some attention. I look forward to reading this one.

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    1. Kathy - I'm slowly working my way through all of her books.

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  5. I'm adding this to my To Read list. I wonder why her books were not more well known when they were first written.

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    1. Pat - It seems like Me Before You was the book that finally got Moyes noticed by US readers.

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  6. I've always been intrigued by the wartime marriage aspect of WWII--this sounds like a book that I would really enjoy!

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    1. Bookmammalmusings - It seems like you can't go wrong no matter which Moyes novel you choose to read!

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  7. Moyes is one of those authors that it's getting ridiculous that I haven't read her yet! I'm glad to know you enjoyed this one and that it sounds like any of hers are good reads. I'll definitely have to give her a try!

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    1. Katherine - I don't think you can go wrong with any of her novels!

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  8. I am looking forward to my next JoJo Moyes book. I wonder which it will be...

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    1. Care - I know I'll be reading more of her books, too!

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  9. I can't wait to read this one! I too am so happy they are re-issuing her backlist.

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    1. Beth F - Me, too... and I'm glad he has such a large backlist!

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  10. I've never read her before, but it sounds like I should!

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  11. I recently read her One Plus One and that one is also very different from all those books. I loved One Plus One and Me Before You. I need to read more of her books. She's certainly a great novelist!

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    1. Athira - I'm looking forward to reading One Plus One... so many glowing reviews!

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  12. Moyes has definitely become one of my "go-to" authors. Love her stuff.

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    1. Lisa - Moyes never disappoints... glad she has such an extensive backlist!

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  13. Loved The Girl You Left Behind now I just need to find time for her others. It's good to know that she delivers!

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    1. Stacy - My mother just finished her latest, One Plus One, and love it!

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  14. Well, I loved Me Before You, but was disappointed with The Girl You Left Behind. I may wait a while before giving this one a chance. I still have hope for this author! And of course, it may have just been bad timing as far as my feelings about The Girl You Left Behind.

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    1. Les - Maybe a little more distance would be good for you then. I actually liked The Girl You Left Behind even more than Me Before You... although it might just be that I read it on the beach in FL last winter ;-)

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