Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Review: The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey (audio)

Title: The Beantown Girls
Author: Jane Healey
Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christiansen
Published: February 2019 Brilliance Audio / Lake Union Publishing
Length: 11 hours 14 minutes / 366 pages
Source: Audio - Brilliance Audio / Print - Paperback via GetRed PR

A novel of love, courage, and danger unfolds as World War II’s brightest heroines—the best of friends—take on the front lines.
1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.

Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Jane Healey and it certainly will not be the last. One of my reading resolutions this year is the read more historical fiction because each time I read a book in this genre I remember how much I enjoy it, especially books about the wars, and this one was just so good! It's equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking and as much as I learned new things, which is why I love reading historical fiction, I found myself completely engaged and captivated by the writing.

I have never heard of the Red Cross Clubmobiles in any of the books I've read about World War II and so I found myself completely intrigued by what Fiona, Viviana and Dottie were signing themselves up for when they decided to get involved with the war effort. At the same time, the one question that kept crossing my mind as I was reading this book and following the story of these girls was, if I was alive during this time, would I be as brave as these girls and be able to do what they had done? Would I be able to sign up and be a Red Cross Clubmobile girl myself? 

This book is emotionally intense. You feel as if you are right there in the middle of the war with these girls and the soldiers. I was laughing right along with the girls one minute at the catastophes that were happening - the mix-ups with the donut making and the driving lessons - and then tearing up at something else - the discovery of a mine field, the loss of a beloved friend. This book really is a roller coaster of emotions and you feel everything!

I think what sets this book apart from others books in this genre, and more specifically, about the war, is that you really feel as if you are right there in the middle of the war. Not too many others take you right there into the middle of the action of the war itself, at least not from the women's perspective, and yet that's exactly what we have here. And it felt real...you felt the stress and the emotions and the energy that all that brought about.

This book is about finding oneself, it's about love and loss, and it's about friendship. I absolutely loved everything about this book and will definitely be looking to find out more about these Red Cross Clubmobile Girls...they are so fascinating! I highly recommend picking this book up - yes, it's an emotional read, but it's well worth it!

Audio thoughts: This was one of the most enjoyable audio books that I've listened to in a while. I thought Sarah Mollo-Christiansen did a fantastic job with the voices, giving everyone their own distinct personality and voice. She brought these characters to life, bringing just the right amount of emotion to her voice as needed and her pacing and intonation were spot on. This was a great book to listen to and I thoroughly enjoyed it!


1 comment

  1. That's a question I ask myself too about would I be brave enough like the women in this book and in the many other ventures that they entered into. This is one I'd like to read.


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