“beautifully rounded portraits … delightful and touching.” – Daily Mail
From the bestselling authors of The Sugar Girls, GI Brides weaves together the real-life stories of women who crossed the ocean for love.
The ‘friendly invasion’ of Britain by over a million American GIs caused a sensation amongst a generation of young women deprived of male company during the Second World War. With their exotic accents, smart uniforms and aura of Hollywood glamour, the GIs soon had the local girls queuing up for a date, and the British boys off fighting abroad turning green with envy.
But American soldiers offered something even more tantalising than a ready supply of chocolate, chewing gum and nylon stockings. Becoming a GI bride provided an escape route from Blitz-ravaged Britain, an opportunity for a whole new life in America – a country that was more affluent, more modern and less class-ridden than home. Some 70,000 GI brides crossed the Atlantic at the end of the war to join the men who had captured their hearts – but the long voyage was just the beginning of a much bigger journey.
Once there, the women would have to adapt to a foreign culture and a new way of life thousands of miles away from family and friends, with a man they hardly knew out of uniform. Some struggled with the isolation of life in rural America, or found their heroic soldier was less appealing once he returned to Civvy Street. But most persevered, determined to turn their wartime romance into a lifelong love affair, and prove to those back home that it really was possible to have a Hollywood ending.
The GI Brides Blog
- The Welsh War Brides of Tiger Bay (1/28/2014) - In this guest blog, Dr. Valerie Hill-Jackson shares some of the stories she discovered in the course of researching her documentary Tiger Brides: Memories of Love and War from the GI Brides of Tiger Bay When I married my husband, Bowen Keiffer Jackson, Jr. (Special Agent, FBI, retired), he knew very little about where his mother [...]
- Pauline Fraser – a dancer who became a GI bride (11/14/2013) - In this guest post, Louise Brass tells the story of Pauline Fraser, a GI Bride who she worked with on the memoir Presenting Pauline. Pauline Fraser was on the first ship that left British shores for America carrying war brides who had fallen in love with American GIs during World War II. She was leaving [...]
- Who Do You Think You Are? (11/8/2013) - The new edition of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine is out now, and its cover feature is a piece by Nuala about GI Brides and how she tracked down her own family history in the States. If you’re after advice on how to discover your own GI bride ancestor’s story, the piece includes [...]
- Ruth Murtaugh: GI Widow (11/4/2013) - In our three-month tour of the United States, we spoke to over 60 surviving GI Brides, and heard a very wide range of stories, some joyful and others tinged with sorrow. But of all the women we spoke to, none told a sadder tale than Ruth Murtaugh. Ruth grew up in Kentish Town, North London [...]
- Books Are My Bag … and GI Brides is a Sunday Times bestseller (9/16/2013) - We had a great time at the Big Bookshop Party at Newham Bookshop on Saturday, as part of the nationwide Books Are My Bag campaign. We were joined by East End crime novellists Anya Lipska and Barbara Nadel, as well as sugar girls Gladys and Eva, who popped in to say hello and sign a [...]
- Nuala on Irish radio with Sean Moncrieff (9/12/2013) - Yesterday, Nuala was a guest on Sean Moncrieff’s show on Newstalk radio in Ireland. She told Sean about her grandmother’s time in America as a GI bride, and how it came to inspire her to write the book. You can listen to the full interview here:
- A sugar girl turned GI Bride (9/11/2013) - When we posted a notice on the website for our book The Sugar Girls calling for stories of British women who had become GI Brides, we never expected to find a woman who was both – and yet that was the case of Frances Pelling. Her daughter Lynn contacted us to tell us her story. [...]
- Sylvia’s interview with Robert Elms (8/28/2013) - Yesterday we posted our live interview with Robert Elms on BBC London. Now here is the pre-recorded interview with GI bride Sylvia O’Connor, which Robert broadcast earlier in the show. Sylvia was speaking down the phone from Baltimore, where she has lived since 1946. She told Robert about how she met her husband Bob while [...]
- Duncan and Nuala on the Robert Elms show (8/27/2013) - Today, we were guests on Robert Elms’ show on BBC London, which had ‘GI Brides’ as its topic of the day. Earlier in the programme, Robert had broadcast a pre-recorded interview with Sylvia, which we’ll be uploading shortly. Robert encouraged listeners to call in with their family stories of GI romances and GI brides, and [...]
- A GI Bride’s first Independence Day, 1946 (7/4/2013) - Many GI brides adjusting to life in America in the Summer of 1946 found themselves celebrating Independence Day on July 4th for the first time, along with their husband’s family. For some, the sound of the Fourth of July fireworks inevitably brought back memories of the bombing they experienced during the Blitz. GI Bride Rae [...]
- Memories of an East London war bride (7/12/2012) - On Monday, one of our Sugar Girls, Eva, introduced us to a good friend of hers who we were keen to speak to for our next book, which is about women who married American soldiers during the Second World War. Alice ‘Jimmy’ White is now 88 but can still vividly recall her experiences in the [...]