The War Bride’s Scrapbook: A Novel in Pictures

Written by Caroline Preston
Review by Lauren Miller

Preston, author of the acclaimed scrapbook novel The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, delivers again with her second foray into this niche genre, presenting the reader with a charming wartime romance, richly decorated with vintage clippings from her fascinating collection of WWII-era documents. Each page feels like you’re flipping through someone’s living history, an intimate portrayal of a young war bride, living out those anxious years on the home front, with an uncertain future. The novel also chronicles how women’s roles were being redefined as some women transitioned from housewives to finding ways to contribute to the war effort and fill gaps in the workforce vacated by soldiers.

In a clever artistic decision, Preston uses vintage stationery patterns and typewriter fonts to tell the story of Lila Jerome’s sexy whirlwind romance with budding architect Perry Weld, a young army engineer. Magazine advertisements, clippings from period books, postcards, photographs, stamps and more ephemera, illustrate Lila’s journey as she comes into her own as a woman and a wife. This treasure of a book is a quick read, and one you’ll read at least 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.