A Bride Across the Ocean
About the Book:
February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy.
Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark...
Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.
Susan Meissner's niche is stories about women in two different time periods, one historical and the other modern. This book follow suit. The connection between the women in this book is the ship, The Queen Mary.
When reading fiction of any type, a certain suspension of disbelief is necessary. No matter what the story, we know when we start reading it that the story is imaginary, even if the setting and/or characters are not. The trick as an author is to create your world and characters and then to make their actions realistic within that world.
I found the World War II era story to be believeable for the most part, but the modern story didn't ring true at all. Brette can see ghosts--people who are caught between this world and the next. It is a "gift" shared by some of the women in her family and something that got her labeled as the weird kid in high school. A man she went to high school with (and liked until he chose the cool crowd over her) contacts her out of the blue because his daughter saw a ghost on the Queen Mary. He asks her to visit the Queen Mary, find out there is no ghost there, and then tell his daugther that there is no ghost. This begins Brette's search for the ghost and for the stories of Annalise and Simone.
Brette's whole plot line just gets stranger and stranger. Even if you accept that ghosts exist and that Brette can see them, Brette's interactions with other people in the modern day just don't ring true--I mean why should the little girl believe this stranger when she won't believe her dad?
While I loved the stories of Annaliese and Simone, Brette's story was a definite weak point in the book.
I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley. Grade: B