Tuesday 1 January 2019

Book ~ "Captured Hearts: New Brunswick's War Brides" (2008) Melynda Jarratt

From Goodreads ~ Imagine you're a young woman caught up in the ugly reality of war. You meet and fall in love with a young soldier from a foreign country. You marry and your world is upended: when the war ends, you leave all you've ever known behind - your family, friends, and way of life - to begin a new life in Canada.

This is the story of hundreds of women who made their way to New Brunswick at the end of the Second World War. Between 1942 and 1948, young women from all over Europe came to this part of Canada with their servicemen husbands. Some married Aboriginal New Brunswickers; others married French-speaking Acadians; still others married New Brunswickers of British descent. In this compelling volume, wives, widows, fiancees, and those who and returned to Europe after failed marriages tell compelling stories of prejudice, perseverance, kindness, hope, defeat and triumph. 

During World War II, there were many Canadians soldiers stationed overseas.  It was a time for living for the moment and during off-time there was no end to the possibilities for fun and romance. 

As months passed and the number of weddings increased, both British and Canadian authorities started getting concerned that too many marriages were being done in haste so the rules made tougher.  The soldiers had to fill out a "Permission to Marry" form and have it endorsed by their commanding officer.  If the bride and groom were under 21, they had to get their parents' written permission.  The bride-to-be had to get a letter of recommendation from her employer and take a medical from a Canadian military-approved doctor.  They also had to be interviewed by the padre of the soldier's unit to see if they fully understood the implications of marriage.

When the war ended in 1945, the first priority was to bring the soldiers home to Canada and the transportation of the war brides and their children had to wait until the next year.  A survey done in 1947 used New Brunswick as a "typical example" and determined there had been 1,820 marriages between New Brunswick soldiers and their war brides and that 1,760 wives were still in the province (only two had returned overseas and obtained divorces).

When many of the war brides arrived in New Brunswick, they discovered that life wasn't what they had been used to or expecting ... no running water, no electricity, outhouses, hard rural lives, they didn't speak the language (ie French), etc.  Many stayed and grew to love it while others stayed because they had no choice.

I'd read War Brides by this author and liked it.  That book was a collection of stories of Canada's war brides ... some of the stories were told by the brides themselves, others by children or grandchildren.  This book focuses on New Brunswick.  I liked this book too and found it interesting ... it's hard to imagine what it was like during that time and being a war bride.

If you want to learn more about Canadian War Brides, you can go to the extensive website.

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