Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 480 pages
Audiobook Length: 15 hours
First Published: 2024
I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press and through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
When her brother ships off to Vietnam, nursing student Frankie McGrath impulsively decides to leave her sheltered life on Coronado Island and join the Army Nurse Corps. In Vietnam, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos of war. Yet, even more unsettling is the shock of coming home to a country that has been divided by war and disillusioned by politics.
With a similar feel to The Four Winds, The Women is immersive historical fiction with a more serious tone. I took a little longer to attach to Frankie than usual but, by the time I did, I was desperate for Frankie to get her happily-ever-after. Yet, The Women reminds us that life isn’t like a fairytale. War is a messy, traumatizing business even when veterans are fully-supported. And Vietnam was messier than any other war in American history, leaving unheard of struggles for returning soldiers, especially for the women who were often overlooked and forgotten.
“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.
About Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including The Great Alone, The Four Winds, The Women, The Nightingale, Winter Garden, Magic Hour, and Firefly Lane. Hannah was a lawyer before she turned author. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Visit the author’s website →