War Brides by Helen Bryan Discussion Questions

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

'War Brides' is a historical novel set in Sussex, England in the early days of World War II. This harrowing tale is told from the perspective of five young women. Help high school students glean meaningful insights with these discussion questions.

War Brides by Helen Bryan

Helen Bryan's War Brides follows five young women as they endeavor to cope with the hardships of World War II in their small town in Sussex, England. Framed by the lives of colorful, unique characters, Bryan tells the story of war from the home front. Use these discussion questions to help your students explore more about the historical context, characters, and themes of this gripping novel. Consider using these questions as the basis for a one-on-one conversation with a single student. Alternatively, you may want to provide a list of questions to student teams or use them to host a whole group discussion.

Questions about Historical Context

  • The impacts of World War II could be felt far and wide. How did it affect the town of Crowmarsh Priors? When one thinks of war, is it typically focused on the frontline soldiers? Why or why not? How do those back home face their own hardships? Describe some hardships faced on the home front of more recent wars. Have you ever had to face war's direct impact on your own family? If not, how do you think you would cope with it?
  • Bryan gives a brutal description of the aftermath of the Luftwaffe bombing of London. How does her description help the reader understand and relate to the characters on a deeper level? What traits do they show as they face this devastating crisis? How does the community come together? Do you think that facing war together, even on the home front, unifies people? Explain fully.
  • Crowsmarsh Priors is a real place in the county of Sussex, England. During World War II, it was a home to many families and children fleeing London. Eventually, it was bombed, as well. Why do you think the author chose not to capture the direct hit? How did she incorporate the migration of London residents to the small town? Do you think she should have continued the novel's events to address these happenings? Why or why not?

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