A #1 bestseller on The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times!
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Kristin Hannah is the queen of the impeccably researched and heart-wrenching historical drama. Nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath is living a safe, sheltered life until a random comment at a party sends her down a new path: “Women can be heroes.” Hoping to join her brother—a naval officer serving in Vietnam—Frankie enlists in the army and is shipped into the heart of the conflict, where she discovers the cost of war firsthand and forms strong bonds with her fellow soldiers as they face unimaginable challenges. Hannah’s enthralling tale explores themes of duty and friendship. Whether she’s describing a nerve-racking helicopter ride or a chaotic peace rally, her flair for detail makes every moment pop as Frankie evolves from a naive society girl to a hardened veteran. The Women is an unforgettable story about what it means to serve.
Hannah's emotionally charged page-turner (after The Four Winds) centers on a young nurse whose life is changed by the Vietnam War. Before Frankie McGrath begins basic training for the Army in 1966, her older brother Finley is killed in action. Frankie excels as a surgical nurse in Vietnam and becomes close with fellow nurses Ethel and Barb. After Ethel's tour ends, Frankie and Barb gets assigned to the base at Pleiku, near the Cambodian border, where some of the heaviest fighting occurs. There, she reunites with Navy officer Rye Walsh, Finley's best friend, and they become lovers. When Frankie returns to the U.S., she's met with indifference for her service from her parents, who are still grieving her brother's death, and disdain from people who oppose the war. She leans on alcohol and drugs while struggling to acclimate to civilian life. Though the situations and dialogue can feel contrived (Rye, after announcing he's re-upping, says to Frankie at the close of a chapter, "I'm not leaving my girl"), Hannah's depictions of Frankie tending to wounded soldiers are urgent and eye-opening, and a reunion of the three nurses for Frankie's benefit is poignantly told. Fans of women's historicals will enjoy this magnetic wartime story.
A fantastic book
One of her best, after Four Winds, in my opinion. Parts of it are not for the squeamish, but like with all her other books, KH weaves a masterful tale while opening my eyes to parts of the Vietnam story I never knew.
For Fans of Historical Fiction
This book follows the life of Frankie McGrath who comes from a wealthy conservative family where she was sheltered growing up. All she was ever taught was how to be a good homemaker and mother, which would be the expectations set by her parents and society.
At her brother, Finley’s, going away party because he is going to war, she is told by Rye, her brother’s best friend, that “women can be heroes”. This really struck her and made her think.
When she had her first nursing job, it opened her eyes to the world around her. After doing a dead end job and taking care of an injured Vietnam soldier, she decides to join the Army Nurse Corp! How will she handle war? Will she get the experience she is looking for?
When Frankie returns from war, there are protests going on and civil unrest. Frankie is having nightmares and is often spooked by everyday sounds. How will she cope with all she has been through? Can she find a life she is satisfied with? This book will keep you turning the pages to find out Frankie’s fate!
Kristin Hannah, no matter what she writes, is refreshing to read! You can tell she takes the time to meticulously research in order to tell this story accurately and with dignity. She gives you a better understanding of what it was like during the Vietnam War through the eyes of women. Kristin Hannah sheds light and much deserved attention to the forgotten women of the Vietnam War! Anyone who is a fan of Historical Fiction, this is a must-read! Great for book clubs as well as it will lead to many great discussions!
Perfectly written! Would love to see this made into a movie!