27 May, 2014

Spare Brides by Adele Parks [Kathy, Birkenhead Library]

The 'spare brides' in the title of this book refers to the British women that were destined to remain unmarried because so many young men of their generation died in the Great War. The story follows the lives of four friends, two sisters, Beatrice and Sarah, and their society friends Ava and Lydia. Lydia is the only one with a husband; Sarah is a war widow and the others have never married.

Spare Brides begins on New Years’ Eve in 1920 when the friends attend a glamorous party to bring in the new year. It is here that the main character Lydia meets a 'striking yet haunted' officer, which is the start of a year of change for all the women. Relationships are the main theme - women looking for husbands, illicit affairs, women's friendships, marriage problems and family responsibilities.

The period details were very well described which made it easy to imagine the look and atmosphere of the time and is similar in feel to the television series Downton Abbey. Certainly Ava as the daughter of an American mother and titled English father could easily be one of the Crawley family - Lady Mary perhaps?  

It's a fairly light read but does cover some serious topics, especially the huge changes the aftermath of World War I brought to British society.

Title: Spare Brides
Author: Adele Parks
ISBN: 9781472205384
Published: 2014
Publisher: Headline Review

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