Bestselling author Soraya Lane brings us a poignant story of the bonds of friendship, the ups and downs of love, and the reality of heartbreak just after World War II. English war brides Betty, Madeline, Alice, and June set sail for New York to rejoin their beloved husbands. During their time at sea, the four young women become good friends, and promise to keep in touch. But they have no idea how circumstances and distance will keep them apart. Each bride faces challenges, and each bride finds the courage to make things better and carry on. And in the end, their ship-forged friendship proves strong enough to bring them together again.
Sissy: I have read a couple of books about English war brides before but this is the first one where they had complete follow-through of their lives in the United States. What I liked most about it is that each character had such a different situation with unique challenges and you can really see each woman’s strength and capacity to deal. Also, I enjoyed the strong bond that was formed between the four of them and how they literally became lifesavers for each other. When Bubby writes her memoirs, she’ll probably dedicate a whole chapter to how I’ve saved her life like that.
Bubby: You know it, Sissy. I just don’t know how I ever would have survived my first seven years of life without you singing me to sleep every night, albeit reluctantly. And that time that Dad made us share a water-bed for a few months? I would have frozen without your snuggly self beside me.
Sissy: Thanks for that. I had successfully shoved that hellish memory back into some dark abyss and now it’s resurfaced. I feel cold and uncomfortable just thinking about it.
Bubby: The point is, you’ve always been there for me, just like Madeline, Betty, Alice and June are there for each other, through thick and thin, alcoholic husbands, unfamiliar homes and let’s not forget the psycho mother-in-law from the dark side. I initially wanted Voyage of The Heart to be a lighter and brighter story than it was. I wanted all the girls to get off the ship and have their perfect husbands waiting for them, and on to happily ever after. But that’s not realistic. I’m sure that many war brides had less than ideal arrangements once they got off the boat. Soraya Lane does a great job of painting a true-to-life portrait of these women’s lives.
Sissy: It’s unbelievable to me what women had to put up with in those times. They had to stay in situations where they had no recourse, no power. Madeline’s story in particular was horrible but she was a survivor and she was able to dig deep and find the strong woman within. Alice’s circumstances were also desperate –
Bubby: Can I tell you that I almost quit reading the book because of Alice and her choices? Holy cow!
Sissy: It was really hard to read that bit (no spoilers!) knowing the motivation of the other party involved. Alice couldn’t see what was obvious because she was in the midst of her desperation. I would not like to be tried like that. But as is required by us, we had happy endings all around, which proves that happiness is something you have to work for.
Bubby: Yes, even June and Eddie, who seemed to have the perfect life had issues of their own. But as Sissy said, all is well in the end. I love reading about this time period, when the world is slowly starting to wake up from the tragedies of World War II and everything seems new and fresh again. Soraya Lane does a great job of describing the time period and the characters – definitely an author I’ll be reading again.
Sissy: Voyage of the Heart by Soraya Lane engages the heart and the mind. Well done!
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