I was filled with sadness but more importantly hope when I finished this book. Sadness because I wanted more. Hope, because in the end I wanted the best for the characters of Sarah and especially her granddaughter, Hannah. These two characters’ sail halfway around the world from America to Australia so that Sarah can be reunited with the family she left as a war bride to begin a new life in America. Her granddaughter Hannah accompanies her and we are privy not only to the unfolding of Sarah’s life but that of Hannah.
The history of American soldiers in Australia is beautifully told but the little known fact that hundreds of Australian war brides were shipped out after the war was astounding. As an Australian in America, Sarah confronts not only a new life as a bride but the harshness of acceptance. Her accent is both ridiculed and admired as she confronts choices as to how she wants to live and the secrets she keeps from the family she escaped from in Australia. Her granddaughter on the other hand has a different set of concerns with secrets she can’t share which cause her suffering and heartache.
On the journey, Sarah reveals her past to her granddaughter and the reason why she hadn’t been home for more than sixty years. This forces Hannah to confront her own secret. The love they have for each other is heart-warming and the split narrative works very nicely. I warmed to both characters and wanted to know more about Hannah and her disorder and we are left wondering and hoping that she will deal with it.
This is a thoroughly researched novel, easy to read and compelling. Give it a go.