“Sisters in Arms is heartwarming but fierce, a novel brimming with camaraderie and fire, starring women you’d love to make your friends. Prickly, musical Grace and bubbly, privileged Eliza may not make the most natural allies, but it’s fight or die when they’re thrown together in the Army’s first class of female officers—and the first Black women allowed to serve their country in World War II. . . . Kaia Alderson’s debut is a triumph!”— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code
Kaia Alderson’s debut historical fiction novel reveals the untold, true story of the Six Triple Eight, the only all-Black battalion of the Women’s Army Corps, who made the dangerous voyage to Europe to ensure American servicemen received word from their loved ones during World War II.
Grace Steele and Eliza Jones may be from completely different backgrounds, but when it comes to the army, specifically the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), they are both starting from the same level. Not only will they be among the first class of female officers the army has even seen, they are also the first Black women allowed to serve.
As these courageous women help to form the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, they are dealing with more than just army bureaucracy—everyone is determined to see this experiment fail. For two northern women, learning to navigate their way through the segregated army may be tougher than boot camp. Grace and Eliza know that there is no room for error; they must be more perfect than everyone else.
When they finally make it overseas, to England and then France, Grace and Eliza will at last be able to do their parts for the country they love, whatever the risk to themselves.
Based on the true story of the 6888th Postal Battalion (the Six Triple Eight), Sisters in Arms explores the untold story of what life was like for the only all-Black, female U.S. battalion to be deployed overseas during World War II.
Alderson's impressive debut follows two New York City women who join the Army's first all-Black officer candidate school during WWII. In 1942, pianist Grace Steele, 26, fumbles her Juilliard audition after learning that her brother died in the war, then joins the Six Triple Eight Battalion of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Wealthy society reporter Eliza Jones, 23, whose father is the publisher of her newspaper and won't allow her to take on assignments of any substance, also accepts the Army's call. The women forge a rocky friendship while navigating the segregated organization, where tented table cards labeled "Coloreds" are placed on mess tables near the latrines. The company closes ranks when their major is almost court-martialed after "backtalking" a general, and succeed in having the charge dropped. Descriptions of boot camp and a U-boat chase during their voyage to Europe are standouts before the battalion is charged with a dangerous mission distributing mail to troops in England and France. Though the dialogue can feel underdeveloped, Alderson impresses with her account of trailblazing Black characters who battle racism and misogyny. The adventures of the Six Triple Eight will captivate readers. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary
A Wonderful Read
Kaia Alderson writes a remarkable debut novel based on the 1st all Black Female 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalien that was deployed over sees during WWII. This author takes the reader on Grace and Eliza’s journey from application, to interview, to serving oversees in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. This book keeps you engaged and entertained the entire book because it draws you in wanting to know more about their experiences and fate. What a wonderful story of bravery, friendships, family hardships, adversity, love, and loss. Be sure to add this incredible book to your TBR list! A great book club pick!