As the second World War descends on the sleepy English village of Crowmarsh Priors, fear has become a way of life. Air raids light up the town at night, supplies are tightly rationed, and men leave every day to join the front lines—many of them never to return. Against this ominous backdrop, five women form an unexpected friendship in Helen Bryan's moving new novel, War Brides.
Alice Osbourne, a vicar's daughter who has always stayed close to home, is thrilled when her handsome childhood friend Richard Fairfax asks for her hand. But when Richard leaves home shortly after their engagement for an assignment in New Orleans, he returns with a beautiful new American wife on his arm: Evangeline Fontaine. She's an 18-year-old Southern belle with a shocking secret and a habit of getting what she wants. Tanni Zayman, a young Jewish girl who escaped the terrors of the war in Europe, arrives in Crowmarsh Priors with a brand-new son and a desperate wish to see the rest of her family safe. Frances Falconleigh is a feisty debutante with a spirit her parents would like to see kept in check, and Elsie Pigeon is a poor lass from London who evacuated the city in search of a better life.
As the situation in the village worsens, these five friends grow closer. Facing unimaginable nightmares—hunger, falling bombs, the looming threat of a Nazi invasion, and a traitor in their midst—they discover extraordinary strength in each other and in themselves. But their personal lives are often divisive, as they find and lose love over the course of their wartime experience.
Fifty years later, four of the five women return to Crowmarsh Priors for a VE Day celebration. Will it be a joyful reunion, or will the most difficult moments from their pasts come back to haunt them? Find out in War Brides, available now for readers who love historical fiction with a side of romance and intrigue.