The Women by Kristin Hannah

The Women has been on my to-read list since I read the first synopsis of it months ago. While I tend to read more older historical fiction, the idea of a novel of the Vietnam War sounded quite interesting, especially one featuring female Army nurses. As an active duty family, we're fairly used to the idea of women soldiers, even women in combat, but that was not always the case. I had often heard that there were few women in Vietnam.

My Thoughts:

In The Women, Frankie is the daughter of a San Diego family with longtime ties to the Navy. Her older brother is at Annapolis, slotted for Vietnam after graduation, while she attends nursing school as a means of occupying herself until her one day marriage. Bored with her life, she chooses to enlist in the US Army Nurse Corps in order to be sent to Vietnam as well. None of her nursing experience prepares her for the reality of a field hospital in Vietnam nor how she will be received once she returns to the United States.

Kristin Hannah has done it again--another meticulously researched and executed historical fiction novel. From page 1, I was hooked on Frankie's story, especially because the Vietnam War isn't one of my typical historical fiction reads. Seeing her journey to even entering the service, to serving in a war zone, to coming home to a different conflict really emphasized what the rare women serving at the time went through. As bad as Vietnam was, her struggle with her homecoming and acceptance of her service was quite heart wrenching as there were simply no resources available to her at the time, due to the lack of those and due to her gender. It made for a very hard read, yet compelling, read. I've already recommended it to everyone I talk books too.

About The Women:

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.

Purchase The Women on Amazon.