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Reviews of The Women by Kristin Hannah

The Women

A Novel

by Kristin Hannah

The Women by Kristin Hannah X
The Women by Kristin Hannah
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  • Published:
    Feb 2024, 480 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Jordan Lynch
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Book Summary

From master storyteller Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Four Winds, comes the story of a turbulent, transformative era in America: the 1960s.

"Women can be heroes, too."

When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances "Frankie" McGrath hears these unexpected words, it is a revelation. Raised on idyllic Coronado Island and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing, being a good girl. But in 1965 the world is changing, and she suddenly imagines a different choice for her life. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she impulsively joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.

As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction of war, as well as the unexpected trauma of coming home to a changed and politically divided America.

The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on the story of all women who put themselves in harm's way to help others. Women whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has all too often been forgotten. A novel of searing insight and lyric beauty, The Women is a profoundly emotional, richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose extraordinary idealism and courage under fire define a generation.



MAY 1966

The walled and gated McGrath estate was a world unto itself, protected and private. On this twilit evening, the Tudor-style home's mullioned windows glowed jewel-like amid the lush, landscaped grounds. Palm fronds swayed overhead; candles floated on the surface of the pool and golden lanterns hung from the branches of a large California live oak. Black-clad servers moved among the well-dressed crowd, carrying silver trays full of champagne, while a jazz trio played softly in the corner.

Twenty-year-old Frances Grace McGrath knew what was expected of her tonight. She was to be the very portrait of a well-bred young lady, smiling and serene; any untoward emotions were to be contained and concealed, borne in silence. The lessons Frankie had been taught at home and at church and at St. Bernadette's Academy for Girls had instilled in her a rigorous sense of propriety. The unrest going on across the country these days, erupting on city streets and college...

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Based on years of research and guidance from real-life Vietnam War nurses, The Women vividly describes the horrors of war and the beauty of friendship and forgiveness while honoring the women whose service in Vietnam has been largely ignored...continued

Full Review Members Only (719 words)

(Reviewed by Jordan Lynch).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Publishers Weekly
Hannah's emotionally charged page-turner (after The Four Winds) centers on a young nurse whose life is changed by the Vietnam War...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.

Author Blurb Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry
Stuns with sacrifice; uplifts with heroism ... an important, long overdue tribute to the brave women nurses who served in Vietnam.

Author Blurb Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing
One of the greatest storytellers of our time, Kristin Hannah, tackles one of the most cruel and despicable wars of the last century, the Vietnam War. The Women reveals the powerful contributions and horrific sacrifices of the American military nurses who served in a war whose agencies refused to acknowledge that they were even there. Perhaps no words can bring closure to a nation still ashamed of booing our returning heroes, but the heroine, Frances McGrath, stirs a deep, overdue compassion and tears for every single soldier―and especially the forgotten women who sacrificed so much. Never has a novel of war metamorphosed so profoundly into a story of the human heart.

Author Blurb Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn
Many would say that the nurses who helped fight the Vietnam War were forgotten. Believe me, for those of us who were there, these women were never forgotten--and never will be. Kristin Hannah honors them with this novel.

Author Blurb Nicholas D. Kristof, Pulitzer Prize–winning coauthor of Half the Sky
The Women is historical fiction at its very best. So moving, so wrenching, and yet, in the end, uplifting. Brava! I loved The Nightingale and The Four Winds, but The Women is my favorite.

Reader Reviews


This book will resonate for a long time.
I grew up during the Vietnam war. I learned so much from this book that I did not know. I shed a few tears and throughly enjoyed this book. Great writing and characters-it will stay with me for a long time.

Overdue Tribute
The Women by Kristin Hannah Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the ARC audiobook Narrated by: Julia Whelan and Kristin Hannah reading authors note I’ve always enjoyed Julia Whelan’s narrations and she does another excellent read ...   Read More
Lynda We.chel

Story That Needed Telling - hard to put down!
A story of women in Vietnam, trials, love, the heartbreak of The Vietnam War. The music quotes, protests against the war. All there. Culture and events in the USA to look back on - remember and to learn. “When will we ever learn - war - a long ...   Read More
She Treads Softly

Very highly recommended historical fiction
The Women by Kristin Hannah is an exceptional portrait of a nurse serving "in country" during the Vietnam War and then returning home. This is a very highly recommended, emotionally charged historical fiction novel which will certainly be one of the ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

The Vietnam Women's Memorial

Sculpture showing three military womenIn Kristin Hannah's The Women, nursing student Frances "Frankie" McGrath joins the Army Nurse Corps and is shipped overseas to serve as a combat nurse in the Vietnam War. Upon returning home, Frankie spends years running from her trauma until she eventually finds a way to share her experiences. At the end of the novel, she stands before the newly unveiled Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and vows to find a way to honor the women like herself who served. Frankie's vow is similar to that of Diane Carlson Evans, who dedicated more than a decade of her life to the creation of the Vietnam Women's Memorial.

Evans served in Vietnam as an Army Corps Nurse from 1966 to 1972. After the ...

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