The Women: A Novel (Hardcover)
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.
“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.” —Nicholas D. Kristof, Pulitzer Prize–winning coauthor of Half the Sky
“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.” —Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing
“Stuns with sacrifice; uplifts with heroism . . . an important, long overdue tribute to the brave women nurses who served in Vietnam.” —Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry
"Hannah’s emotionally charged page-turner (after The Four Winds) centers on a young nurse whose life is changed by the Vietnam War. Before Frankie McGrath begins basic training for the Army in 1966, her older brother Finley is killed in action. Frankie excels as a surgical nurse in Vietnam and becomes close with fellow nurses Ethel and Barb. After Ethel’s tour ends, Frankie and Barb gets assigned to the base at Pleiku, near the Cambodian border, where some of the heaviest fighting occurs. There, she reunites with Navy officer Rye Walsh, Finley’s best friend, and they become lovers. When Frankie returns to the U.S., she’s met with indifference for her service from her parents, who are still grieving her brother’s death, and disdain from people who oppose the war. She leans on alcohol and drugs while struggling to acclimate to civilian life. Though the situations and dialogue can feel contrived (Rye, after announcing he’s re-upping, says to Frankie at the close of a chapter, “I’m not leaving my girl”), 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." —Publishers Weekly
"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." --Karl Marlantes, author of Matterhorn