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Thank you to NetGalley for the audio version of this book for review. 

This is it, my last audiobook review of 2023. And, y’all, I don’t think I could’ve chosen a better book. I felt connected to the characters in this novel in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time.

I’m a veteran of the U.S. Army and am fiercely proud of my service. During my time in the military, I was stationed at Camp Eagle, Wonju, Korea. I’ve read few stories that describe the experiences of a new soldier {especially a female soldier} landing in a new country and, Kristin Hannah nailed it. At times, I felt like she reached deep into my core and brought back long forgotten memories and emotions. I even chuckled when I read about the PX running out of tampons because the men used them to clean their weapons. The care package requests were similar to those that my friends and I requested from our family during my time overseas. She even managed to capture the intensity of relationships that develop when you’re serving in a foreign country.

In her acknowledgements, Kristin thanked the women {and men} who shared their memories of their time in service with her. She also included a list of books for further reading, here’s that list:

Healing Wounds: A Vietnam War Combat Nurse’s 10-Year Fight to Win Women a Place of Honor in Washington, D.C. by Diane Carlson Evans

American Daughter Gone to War: On the Front Lines with an Army Nurse in Vietnam by Winnie Smith

Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam by Lynda Van Devanter

And my suggestions:

I Am Veteran: Of the Vietnam War in the USAF by Frankie Dawson

Memorial Day – 5 Black Women Veterans Who Made History. Sister Love. 


Title: The Women

Author: Kristin Hannah

Narrator: Julia Whelan and Kristin Hannah

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Publication Date: 6 February 2024

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Listening Time: 15 hours

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ABOUT THE BOOK (from the book)

The missing. The forgotten. The brave… The women.

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. The Women is that rarest of novels—at once an intimate portrait of a woman coming of age in a dangerous time and an epic tale of a nation divided by war and broken by politics, of a generation both fueled by dreams and lost on the battlefield.
“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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her website)

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 a selection of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club in 2023. It was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street JournalPaste, and The Week.  In 2018, The Great Alone became an instant New York Times #1 bestseller and was named the Best Historical Novel of the Year by Goodreads.

The Four Winds was published in February of 2021 and immediately hit #1 on the New York TimesWall Street JournalUSA Today, and Indie bookstores’ bestseller lists.  Additionally, it was selected as a book club pick by the both Today Show and the Book Of the Month club, which named it the best book of 2021.  

The Nightingale is currently in production at Tri Star, with Dakota and Elle Fanning set to star.  Tri Star has also optioned The Great Alone and it is in development.  Firefly Lane, her beloved novel about two best friends, was the #1 Netflix series around the world, in the week it came out.  The popular tv show stars Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke and Season Two is currently set to conclude the series on April 27, 2023.  

A former attorney, Kristin lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Keep up with Kristin Hannah on Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads.


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Julia Whelan does an excellent job of narrating this story. Her voice is calm and fluid during the reading and full of emotion when needed. Additionally, her vocal stylings for the different characters are varied enough that you can tell who’s speaking without much difficulty. I’d definitely listen to other books narrated by Julia.


This book was all that I expected and more. When the story first started, I thought it was going to be a soft wash of a rich girl going to Vietnam and being coddled. I was so wrong. Frankie’s character development is fully fleshed out as she grows from naive debutant to war-wisened nurse.

While the overarching plot of the story centers around Frankie and her experiences in Vietnam, Hannah doesn’t leave out the experiences of the female veterans {and, ultimately, the male soldiers} when they returned to “the world.” Frankie’s emotional and physical breakdown is written in painful detail {Whelan’s narration was beautifully executed during these scenes}.

Last, but not least, I like that even the secondary and tertiary characters were fully developed and helped to advance the story. The inclusion of the backstories of the side characters gave them a sense of humanity and provided a sense of connection that could have easily been overlooked.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in women’s war experiences. While not romance heavy, there are several love stories woven throughout the novel, but the strength of the novel lies in the support and friendship of the women who served.

Favorite Quote

Thank God for girlfriends. In this crazy, chaotic, divided world, that was run by men, you could count on the women.”

– Frankie

Trigger Warnings

Some gore. Death. Drug Use. Child death. War crimes.


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The Women by Kristin Hannah





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