War Brides by Helen Bryan (Brilliance Audio)

Tavia Gilbert’s fully-voiced reading of this story of five brave young women – many evacuees from London – thrown together in a small village in Yorkshire, England during World War II – is terrific. The novel starts with each of their stories and how they came to this village. Frances was a debutante who misbehaved in London and was banished to her aunt’s country estate; Elsie was a poor 15-year-old who was offered a servant position; Evangeline was a New Orleans debutante who was in love with her part black cousin and used an English officer attending a party to escape her family; Alice was the daughter of the recently dead Vicar who was jilted by the English officer who instead married Evangeline; and Tanie is a Jewish refugee from Austria who is billeted in the same village. When they are all thrown together their wildly different personalities and backgrounds somehow blend and they work together to survive. The war story is bracketed by the story of four of them returning to the village for a VE Day celebration in 1995, where they figure out that there was a traitor in the village, who that traitor was, and they seek justice.

Tavia Gilbert beautifully voices these five very different women plus all the other village characters as well, each with unique accents and personalities. Her narration grabs and listeners will not be able to turn this one off until the end. Sound Commentary