3 Reviews, 1 Incredible Book. Happy Pub Day to The Women by Kristin Hannah

posted in: 5 star read, Di, Jenn, Sherry | 0

Happy Pub Day to The Women by Kristin Hannah. Since this book at its core is about women, friendship and things that bring us together we thought we would join together and bring you a review from 3 of our crew, Di, Sherry and Jenn share their thoughts on this amazing read.

The Women 
Kristin Hannah

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From the celebrated author of The Nightingale and The Four Winds comes Kristin Hannah’s The Women―at once an intimate portrait of coming of age in a dangerous time and an epic tale of a nation divided.

Women can be heroes. When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath hears these words, it is a revelation. Raised in the sun-drenched, idyllic world of Southern California and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing. But in 1965, the world is changing, and she suddenly dares to imagine a different future for herself. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.

As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is over-whelmed by the chaos and destruction of war. Each day is a gamble of life and death, hope and betrayal; friendships run deep and can be shattered in an instant. In war, she meets―and becomes one of―the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost.

But war is just the beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends. The real battle lies in coming home to a changed and divided America, to angry protesters, and to a country that wants to forget Vietnam.

The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women is a richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire will come to define an era.

Di’s Review:

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I’m not sure what I can say about this book that has not already been said. The rest of my life was pretty well on hold as I was reading it, but things like preparing meals, walking the dog, sleeping kept getting in the way.

The first half of the book was set in Vietnam during the late 1960s. These were my teen years. While I was well aware of the war and the protests against it, living in Canada I had no idea how serious the repercussions were for our neighbours to the south. Most of it was relayed to us as a 2 minute news clip. This story fixed that.

Because the main character was an army nurse in Vietnam, there are some graphic descriptions of injuries and surgeries. But it was real. And just as real was the division between men and women in the armed forces.

The second half was after the war involved the recovery from the war experience. Vietnam veterans had a very, very long road back, complicated by the public’s reaction and even the families’ reactions. A shameful and ugly fact. They suffered from PTSD, addiction, rejection, and more.

I learned a lot from this book.

Well-written, realistic characters and situations. This book evoked many emotions. Sadness, tears, horror, anger, empathy. At times it was hard to read but I couldn’t put it down either. This book visits very dark places, which could be a trigger warning for some readers. But it also shines the light of hope. And, it confirms, there really WERE women in Vietnam.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advance Readers Copy.🕯️

Sherry’s Review:

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This is my first Kristin Hannah read and it definitely will not be my last. I was drawn to this one because of the Vietnam war. A strong woman in a time period I am fascinated with. It was a no brainer for me.

Once I started reading I fell in love with Frankie McGrath. She’d be a spitfire today, but as a woman in the 1960s, she really was all that. I loved her ideals. I really loved the friends she ended up with and that this was such a strong theme of the book. Not love and a husband, but how friends know and love us. The longer I read, the more my love of Frankie grew.

What I know of the war was really front and center through the first third of the book. How really terrible it is. Even for the women who could not be on the front line. And what they endured when they came home, broke my heart. The book then shifted to how the war ended up shaping Frankie’s life. All she learned and all she endured.

This one is definitely in the top echelon of books I’ve read this year. Go run right now and put it on hold at your library or order it. It is special and you need to read it.

Jenn’s Review:

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The Women is a remarkable exploration of the complexities of female relationships, resilience, and the enduring strength that can be found in the bonds between women. Set against the backdrop of World War II, this novel is a remarkable portrayal of the sacrifices and challenges faced by women.

Frankie is searching for something and she hopes that by joining the war she can find it. Being young and dealing with so much it seems Frankie isn’t even sure she knows what shes looking for but she is ready to dive in and see what life has to offer. Hannah masterfully weaves Frankie’s past, present and future together, offering a full and thoughtful view of the war’s lasting impact,  especially on women.

One of the novel’s greatest strengths lies in Hannah’s ability to bring life to historical fiction, really drawing you in and capturing your interest with such strong characters. By the first few chapters I really felt like I knew these women and I was so invested in their stories. The focus of friendship, love, sacrifice, and the enduring spirit of women is both touching and powerful. There are a few really interesting themes through out the the novel but my favourite was the friendships. As always, Hannah captures the spirit of female relationships, celebrating the strength that arises when women support and uplift each other.

The Women is not just a historical novel; it is a celebration of the resilience of the female spirit. Kristin Hannah has created another amazing and emotionally charged story that will stay with you long after the final page and confirm something that we thought all along, women can be heroes.

 

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