finished reading

This is a powerful book.  Sometimes difficult to read, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes inspiring.  What an important story to tell.  Women in Vietnam were overlooked for far too long and this book should be the antidote.  The main character, Frances "Frankie" McGrath experiences the layered and complex world of service during wartime:  the massive loss of life, the misinformation about what actually happened, the brutal toll on civilians, the camaraderie, the glimmers of "normal" life, and so much more is woven into this story. 

The story of women is layered and needs to be told.  I couldn't put it down.  The audio is powerfully narrated.

From the publisher:
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.

#52bookclub prompt 52: published in 2024.

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