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Five Brides


Five Brides

It’s the summer of 1951. World War II is over, and five young women are about to be thrown together in Chicago. And, without any of them having even a potential groom on the horizon, they purchase one very special wedding gown with very special conditions.

Joan Hunt is looking for work. She has left her native England for America, in the hopes that she’ll be able to find employment there and send money home to her large family, who are still suffering financially due to the years of war. In fact, she not only has left England, she has renounced her British citizenship to become a citizen of the United States. Longing for adventure as well as for steady jobs that can help support her family, she decides that England can’t provide either of those things. So she journeys to America, planning to meet her childhood pen pal Evelyn in Chicago, where they’ll live together and work.

"Eva Marie Everson has crafted a rich story of the lives of five young women that is based on actual events.... Readers will devour each and every page to discover the fates of these very different ladies…and their special dress."

Evelyn, a sheltered young woman from a small town in Georgia, is determined to join Joan in the big city. However, her mother is equally determined to keep her at home and marry her off to one of the local farmers. While Evelyn has nothing against those farmers, she does not want to marry a man who will age rapidly due to farming’s hard life. She sees all too clearly how the difficulties of farm life have taken their toll on her beloved father. Unlike her mother, however, Evelyn’s dad supports her dream, and the two make plans for her to relocate to Chicago.

Betty Estes, a young woman brought up with the very best life has to offer, is looking for a way out of the society life her mother has planned for her…as well as hoping to avoid the almost-arranged marriage that would delight her family. George, the man of her mother’s cherished dreams for Betty, is not at all what Betty desires. She finds employment as a secretary and does her best to sidestep her mother’s plans, which are surprisingly more challenging to evade than she would like.

Joan is hired by Betty’s company. Even better, she’s invited by Betty to move into the apartment she shares with two other young women: Magda, an aspiring writer, and her sister Inga, a stewardess. Since there’s also room in the apartment for Evelyn, Joan agrees.

These five ladies couldn’t be more different --- in career choice, personality or dreams. Inga longs for travel and excitement, yet is disappointed by how little of each city she flies to she actually gets to experience. Magda dreams of following in Madeleine L’Engle’s footsteps and write an incredible book. Joan desires a spectacular career, doing interesting work. Betty simply wants to keep from turning into her mother, the society woman. And Evelyn isn’t quite sure what she wants; she just doesn’t want to stay in Georgia and marry a farmer. Each of them heads off every day for work, and --- except for Betty, their connecting point --- they have little contact with each other at home. 

One day, though, they’re all home; in need of something fun and different to do, they head out together to see a matinee of “Singin’ in the Rain.” On the way to get a soda after the film, they glimpse a breathtaking wedding gown in the window of a fine department store. And on a whim, they go in to try it on…even though there’s not an engagement ring among them. While the dress is becoming on each one, its cost is well beyond what they can afford. Singly, that is. When they pool their money, they can purchase the dress. And just like that, each of them has a wedding dress for that moment in their futures that hasn’t arrived yet. Betty will serve as the keeper of the dress and send it to each bride, as she needs it.

Although they don’t know it, weddings are indeed hidden in the future…and, for some of the girls, in the very near future --- along with heartbreak, dashed hopes, unseen trouble and adventure. The five brides-to-be have futures before them that they can’t imagine, but the dress is there, waiting for each one of them.

Eva Marie Everson has crafted a rich story of the lives of five young women that is based on actual events. Joan Hunt and her story of the dress and its brides is real and true, though Everson’s accounts of the other four girls are imagined. Readers will devour each and every page to discover the fates of these very different ladies…and their special dress. Don’t miss this wonderful new book by an accomplished author.

Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on June 19, 2015

Five Brides
by Eva Marie Everson