This treasure of a book is a quick read, and one you’ll read twice: once for the story, and a second time to pore over the added visual element, which takes on its own gravity and presence of the love, loss, and hope experienced by wartime families. Preston’s love story is at times funny, occasionally sobering, and absolutely magical.
~ Read review: Historical Novel Review
A powerful story of love and changes in times of war. The War Bride’s Scrapbook is an enthralling and entertaining read, a remembrance of a world told in keepsakes and words.
~ Read review: Seattle P.I.
Back in 2011, we were enamored of Caroline Preston’s “scrapbook novel,” The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt for the innovative way the author paired vintage ephemera with smart storytelling. Now Preston has produced an equally endearing follow-up in The War Bride’s Scrapbook: A Novel in Pictures.
~ Read review: Fine Books Magazine
WWII enthusiasts will gobble (it) up…… The book’s visual and verbal components combine to make a narrative of definite… charm while hinting at darker depths under the entertaining surface.
Preston collaged combinations of vintage photos, drawings, clippings, advertisements, and all manner of 1920s tidbits in The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt (2011), onto which she overlaid the text of her titular heroine’s peripatetic adventures-into-adulthood. In her sophomore scrapbook presentation, Preston displays the left-behind experiences of a 1940s war bride, and the result is even more spectacular. When Lila Jerome graduated magna cum laude from Sweet Briar with notable interest (and talent) in architecture, she disappointed her mother by coming home to Charlottesville, Virginia, without the expected “high-society girlfriends or fiancé.” Then the December 1941 declaration of war changed everything. Lila sells bonds and volunteers. By November 1943, she’s Mrs. Perry Weld, marrying an enlisted man she’s known for three weeks. Their almost two-year separation enables Lila’s independence, while encouraging intimacy with the husband she’s getting to know through long-distance correspondence; their challenges begin with reunion. Preston deftly explores changing gender and societal expectations, pre-diagnosis PTSD, the morality of the atomic bomb, even the racism of Japanese American imprisonment. The inclusion of three post-scrapbook entries at book’s end is especially resonating. Page-by-multilayered-page, Preston turns what could have been a pedestrian wartime romance into an exceptional reading experience.
“an engrossing tale”
“The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt is a retro delight. Meticulously assembled and designed by the author from her own huge collection of memorabilia, it turns scrapbooking into a literary art form.”
“Literal, literary, and lovely… Preston’s book is a visual journey unlike any other novel out there right now…. It’s this attention to detail that gives the book an almost tactile quality.”
“[A] whimsical mash-up of historical fiction and scrapbooking.”
“Ingenious… nifty and fun.”
“Charming and transporting.”
“A sweetly beguiling novel.”
“[It’s] impossible to crack open the book without wanting to devour it…. A tale of the Roaring Twenties illustrated in the dazzling language of trinkets and baubles… The kind of visual candy that coffee tables were designed to showcase.”
“[The] vintage graphics and sweet, sincere storytelling make it a pure pleasure.”
“Every coat button, baseball card, or gramophone record seems to conduct electricity…. As a reader, you are enchanted with Frankie Pratt’s life… because her life — so carefully constructed and so elegantly detailed — is not so different from our own.”