The Women by Kristin Hannah

February 6th, 2024 Kimberly Review 7 Comments

6th Feb

Narrated by Julia Whelan, The Women by Kristin Hannah takes listeners to Vietnam, when Frances “Frankie” McGrath joins the Army Nurse Corps. This historical fiction shares what it was like for the nurses there and the trials they faced when returning home. This well-researched tale will pull you and tug at your heartstrings.

The Women by Kristin Hannah
The Women
by Kristin Hannah
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Length: 14 hours and 57 minutes
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.5x

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.

HEARTBREAKING historical Standalone well written

The Vietnam War was one of the longest and most controversial in US history. I confess outside of school, I’ve read very little about both in fiction and non-fiction. Hannah’s story The Women is well researched and reflects not only the sentiment of the time but also sheds light on the unsung heroes and their struggles both abroad and stateside as they try to acclimate to civilian life.

We meet twenty-one-year Frankie who follows in her brother’s footsteps and heads to Vietnam with the Army Nurse Corps. Frankie doesn’t want the life her parents imagine for her. It’s 1966, and she wants to be a hero too.

The story is broken into parts. The first part takes place up to and including Vietnam and the second shares life after her return home.

Hannah gave us a flawed, courageous character in Frankie. More than anything, she wants to be a hero and earn a place on her father’s family wall of heroes. Watching Frankie transform from a textbook learned nurse to a combat nurse was surreal. The author brought the war to us and the reality of what the nurses and doctors faced.

In the second half of the story, Frankie comes home and has to acclimate to civilian life. She is suffering from PTSD, her father and mother don’t want to hear about her struggles and the man she loved is dead. It was heartbreaking to see Frankie suffer. Her father was horrible, and the way she was treated while looking for jobs, and by fellow Americans, frustrated me. I knew there was opposition to the war, but I didn’t realize how badly American Veterans were treated. Seeing Frankie reach out to Veteran’s centers for help and be rejected pulled at my heartstrings. We watch her pull things together before things spiral apart and she hits rock bottom. We then get to witness her recovery as it blossoms into something good.

There is romance and while there are happy moments it also leads to betrayal, sadness and peace It is woven throughout, but the focus remains on Frankie and the women of the corps.

Julia Whelan narrates and I highly recommend listening. Whelan captures the tone of the story and brings Frankie, the war and her struggles to life. Hannah’s writing lends itself well to the audio format, which only enhances the story.

I love well researched tales that blend fiction and history together and I found myself searching for more stories set during this volatile period. Hannah has become a favorite author and I look forward to wherever she takes me next.

Amazon | Audible

About Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People's Choice award for best fiction in the same year. Additionally, it was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week. Her novel, The Great Alone, was also voted as Goodreads best historical novel of the year in 2018.

Kristin's highly anticipated new release, The Four Winds will be published on February 9, 2021 (St. Martin's Press). The novel is a sweeping, emotional story of love, family, and survival, set in Texas and California during the dark days of The Great Depression. It is a portrait of one indomitable woman who will do anything to keep her family together. The Nightingale is currently in production at Tri Star, with award-winning director Melanie Laurent set to direct a cast led by Dakota and Elle Fanning. Firefly Lane, starring Katherine Heigl, Sarah Chalke and Ben Lawson, is set to premiere on Netflix in early 2021.

About Julia Whelan

Julia Whelan

Julia Whelan is a screenwriter, life-long actor, and award-winning audiobook narrator. She graduated with a degree in English and Creative Writing from Middlebury College and Oxford University. While in England, her flirtation with tea blossomed into a full-blown love affair, culminating in her eventual certification as a tea master. When not writing her own books, you can find her reading other people’s out loud into a microphone.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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7 Responses to “The Women by Kristin Hannah”

  1. Carla

    Excellent review, Kimberly. I have read a few mixed reviews, but I am really looking forward to listening to this one. I know I will have to be in a certain mood though.

  2. Sophie

    OK I wanted to listen to that one but was afraid too as her last one Fourth Wind was utterly too depressing for me. But now I will read it and… I will give feedback LOL

  3. Katherine

    Kristin Hannah is an author on my Authors to Read list and this looks absolutely fantastic if completely heartbreaking. I’m looking forward to reading this one.