Friday, December 22, 2023

The Women by Kristin Hannah

The missing. The forgotten. The brave… The women.

From master storyteller Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Four Winds, comes the story of a turbulent, transformative era in America: the 1960s. The Women is that rarest of novels—at once an intimate portrait of a woman coming of age in a dangerous time and an epic tale of a nation divided by war and broken by politics, of a generation both fueled by dreams and lost on the battlefield.

“Women can be heroes, too.”

When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath hears these unexpected words, it is a revelation. Raised on idyllic Coronado Island and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing, being a good girl. But in 1965 the world is changing, and she suddenly imagines a different choice for her life. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she impulsively joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.

As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction of war, as well as the unexpected trauma of coming home to a changed and politically divided America.

The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on the story of all women who put themselves in harm’s way to help others. Women whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has all too often been forgotten. A novel of searing insight and lyric beauty, The Women is a profoundly emotional, richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose extraordinary idealism and courage under fire define a generation.

Kindle Edition, 480 pages
Expected publication February 6, 2024
 by St. Martin's Press
5/5 stars

My love for Kristin Hannah's writing is what made me read The Women, Vietnam is not a place I visit in my HF reading. I am very glad I read this book, it was an eye-opener to say the least.

Frankie is a naïve 20-year-old raised with privilege, an impulsive decision sent her to nursing school and then she enlisted in the army. The author didn’t hold back on what transpired in the war, from the brutal conditions, the violence as well as the friendships that develop.

I was very thankful that the publisher gave me a digital arc along with the audio book. I found myself listening to the audio following along on my Kindle - it wasn't the type of story that I multitasked with but sat and absorbed it. The story was compelling and gripping.

I'll confess that there were times I have visions of Mash (the tv series) in my brain, but with more primitive conditions. It’s after Frankie comes home that the story becomes more heartbreaking and emotional. It’s during a time when PTSD was not really a thing and the fact that nurses were not considered Vietnam vets, making any type of help unavailable to her.

I’m also thankful also that my copy included the author notes with the authors inspiration, her numerous sources, and her strong desire to get this story out.

The Women is a well written strong historical story, it is a story of friendship, heartache and family along with addiction and longing. I think Kristin Hannah’s best book to date. One that will stay with me for a long while.

My thanks to St. Martin's Press and Macmillan Audio for advanced copies.  The Women releases on Feb 6, 2024.

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