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.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
“The war no one wants to remember.”
(4.5 / 5) Kristin Hannah is the queen of bringing historical fiction to life. She has the ability to make it sincere and personal making the reader feel as if they’ve lived it.
The Women is no different. Starting in 1965 at the beginning of the Vietnam war, Hannah guides us through Frankie’s life where she sees her brother signing up to fight, then makes the life-altering decision to sign up herself as a nurse.
While Vietnam tends to be a less-talked about war, I’ve always been intrigued by the details, the atrocities and the United States role. This story filled me with details I was not aware of and expanded my need to know more.
One of the things I love about Hannah is the continuation of the story long after it feels it should have ended. She gives us the details of after the war and what the vets went through. Having this come from a female veterans perspective was redefining to all information I’ve read before.
“The world changes for men. For women it stays pretty much the same.”
The shocking differences of how women were treated vs. men when they returned was astonishing. They were not treated as heroes but as killers and many were shunned.
My only complaint is the book length. While all those details are crucial to understanding the depth of the story, it did tend to weigh on being too long. Would I take any of those details out? Absolutely not. I just found myself feeling like the book had finished when it hadn’t. Kristin Hannah continues to be a favorite historical fiction writer with deeply moving stories and she will always be an auto-buy author for me.
AUDIO REVIEW: Well done! What a nice surprise to have my favorite narrator, Julia Whelan. She always makes the story so enjoyable!
General content summary: F words= 3, some language
Alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, heroin, alcoholism
Suicide (previous attempt, veteran)
Familial death (war, no details)
War injuries and deaths (some details, many limbs missing, gangrene, blood, napalm burns)
Agent orange (medical problems it caused)
Orphans and stories how they became orphans
War scenes (guns, bombs, life threatening injuries, death, grief, some details)
Medical procedures and surgery (some details, intense moments)
Baby born and didn’t live
M/F intimacy (few details, closed door, 2x)
Prisoners of war (torture stories, minds broken, injuries)
Gynecological exam (some details)
Miscarriage (details, blood, hospital, grief)
Stimulant and sleeping pill abuse
Cancer patient (death)
DUI- hit a biker, injuries
Attempted suicide (car accident, drowning)
Psych ward and addiction
Thank you to Macmillan Audio, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the copies!
The book releases February 6, 2024.
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