Betty, Joan, Evelyn, Inga and Magda live together in a basement apartment in Chicago in the early 1950s. Betty has rich parents, but she has defied them by moving out on her own, working a job and refusing to marry the man they have chosen for her. Joan has returned to the United States from England, and has left her struggling family behind her. She works multiple jobs to have enough money to send home to them. Evelyn has traveled to the big city from a small town in Georgia. She’s determined to impress a man and win his love—even if she must change herself completely to satisfy him. Inga and Magda are sisters who left their strictly religious parents behind to create a new life for themselves. Inga is a stewardess on an airline, and she’s looking for fun and love on the West Coast. Magda loves to read, and works as a secretary to a book editor. The girls’ lives and schedules are so different, they rarely spend any time together, but are thrown together one warm, Saturday afternoon. They spend the day taking in a movie, and then they decide to do some window shopping. They discover a beautiful wedding dress, and even though not one of them is engaged, they pool their money and buy it. Each of them will get to wear it on her wedding day, then pass it on to the next girl. The last to get married will get to keep the dress forever. It was fun to watch each one of them fall in love—sometimes getting it wrong, and then, hopefully getting it right. The love stories were just as different and unique and the characters were.
This is one of my favorite reads so far this summer. I stayed up way too late to finish it. I love the characters, and felt like they were very true-to-life. I like how this author lets her characters make mistakes, and sometime even do stupid things. I like that this book is about independent women who are finding their way on their own, but still looking for the perfect man to spend their lives with. My favorite characters were Magda and Betty, but yours may be different. I think there’s something for every romance reader to love here. Five Brides is a definite summer must-read.