The War Bride's Scrapbook: A Novel in Pictures
By Caroline Preston
Lila Jerome is certain that she won’t ever marry, and that her days will be spent working in her father’s insurance office. Her college education and aptitude for architecture don’t matter much now that the United States has entered World War II, and Lila spends her free time selling war bonds and supporting other homeland efforts. Then she meets Perry Weld, a handsome army engineer who is preparing to ship out to Europe.
Lila has a spare room, and Perry needs a place, so they are soon roommates, platonic yet dating. Within a matter of days they elope, and Lila finds herself back home with her parents once more, sharing her childhood bedroom with her infant nephew. When she receives a letter from her mother-in-law inviting Lila to come live in Massachusetts, she’s ready for a change of scenery, and off she goes from Charlottesville, Virginia to the great unknown.
When Perry ships out, Lila begins keeping a scrapbook of memorabilia, letters, photos and news articles, all to document her life while Perry is away. Lila and Perry’s story unfolds in a narrative driven by their letters and correspondence, interspersed with notes written by Lila almost as a form of diary or journal. Every page holds a treasure of information, from actual news clippings to sketches and architectural drawings. From charm bracelets to Lucky Strikes, items that were popular and very much a part of the mainstream in the 1940’s set the mood for this very innovative and accurate journey down memory lane.
The War Bride’s Scrapbook is just that – a novel told through a series of pictures and illustrations, with text often playing a supporting role. The format is unique and captivating, and while Lila and Perry’s story is much the same as probably thousands of other couples, the author has synthesized a personal story that reads as though Lila and Perry were the couple down the street, folks you knew your whole life. Charming and honest, this fascinating story is interesting in its presentation and plot alike, and a definite must-read for fans of this era of US history. Don’t miss this visual journey into the not-so-distant past.
Joyce Greenfield, ReaderToReader.com