When I go to pick out historical fiction novels, I generally stick to a few periods in history. One of those periods is World War II, and because so many readers enjoy reading about that time period, there are plenty of novels to choose from in that category. It can be hard to stand out, but A Bridge Across the Ocean managed to provide what felt like a fresh take on the genre. A few things I loved about this book: multiple perspectives, a supernatural element, and it actually taught me something new about that period in history. The story follows three women and switches back and forth from 1946 to present day. Two of those women are survivors of the war: one a German ballerina, the other a traumatized daughter of a French Resistance member. Both end up traveling together on the RMS Queen Mary as war brides waiting to be reunited with their American husbands. The third woman, Brette, is living in modern-day California. Brette is unusual in that she can see ghosts. A series of circumstances lead Brette to the Queen Mary, where she comes across a ghost who, for the first time in Brette's life, compels her to engage with her gift rather than ignore it.
Multiple perspectives plus jumping time periods can be tricky, but Meissner pulls it off seamlessly in this novel. I was drawn in right from the start and really interested in each character's story line. I also loved learning about the war brides and how the Queen Mary was used to reunite couples who had met during the war and held out hope during those difficult years. I don't want to give anything away, but I there were definitely some twists towards the end of this book, and I loved that it surprised me. It was one of those books that I enjoyed for every minute of my time spent reading it, and left me with happy feelings -- not a super common resolution for WWII-era novels. Recommended for fans of The Seven Sisters (one of my top ten favorites from 2016). This novel will be released on March 14, 2017.
Bottom Line Rating: 5/5
Title: A Bridge Across the Ocean
Author: Susan Meissner
Publisher: Berkley Books, 2017
Price: $9 on Amazon
Source: Net Galley