Books · Reviews

SRP Review: The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

the ship of bridesThe Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes showcased a group of war brides leaving Australia and journeying to England to meet up with their husbands. There were four brides who were featured in the book: Maggie, Avice, Frances and Jean. I was intrigued by each one of them.

At first, I found Maggie to be uncomplicated and the cheerleader of the group but as I grew to know her more, I realized there was a little more to Maggie than I originally thought. I found her character refreshing as she wasn’t the usual, cheerful mom-to-be but had insecurities and doubted her ability to mother. It made her come alive even more. I found her struggles real, and the fact she voiced them out loud rather than keep silent, made her a self-rescue princess to me. So many times, women keep their insecurities about motherhood quiet because they fear being judged and believe that to not love every moment of pregnancy or motherhood is saying you don’t  love your children.

Frances was more reserved than the other characters and even though I didn’t feel I knew her as well in the beginning of the book, something drew me to her. I think it was her quiet resolve and determination. Frances took everyone at face value even as she held them at arm’s length. She had a fierce spirit that came out at times and I was really rooting for everything to work out for her. I have to admit that she became my favorite character in the story. Frances was strong and forgiving without coming across as being a doormat. I think that’s a hard combination for a person to pull off, it’s easier to become bitter and close yourself off than giving others a chance. Even though Frances was reserved, she still allowed a tiny crack in the walls she built for others to come in.

One of the hardest things for a writer to do is write an unlikely character and yet make that character sympathetic. I found Avice at times snotty, off-putting, and hypocritical yet I found myself rooting for her because I was able to see the insecurity that drove her behavior. Even though she came from a financial stable family, it was clear that Avice felt lost and as if she had to prove her worth to her parents. While I still cringed at her behavior, it made me understand her more. I liked that Avice had a complex personality, not all light and yet not all dark, and struggled with she felt was expected of her.

What I loved most was how different each of the brides were yet in the end all had the same basic need to be loved for who they were. Each of the women went about achieving that goal in a different (and one I’m not sure did, but in my mind I have given her a much-needed and deserved happily ever after). I liked how The Ship of Brides portrayed accurately the complex friendships of women, and how loyalties can falter when one believes their character will be tied to a friend.


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