Cover Image: The Women

The Women

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Kristin Hannah did a wonderful job describing the Vietnam war and the PTSD that followed. I was moved to tears many times throughout the book. Wonderfully done!
Was this review helpful?
Kristin Hannah is a phenomenal writer, and storyteller. I’ve read nearly all of her books and  THE WOMEN might just be the best one.. It’s the 1960s and the Viet Nam War in raging. I was a young girl and the war was constantly in the news and a major subject. 
Frankie McGrath has finished her nursing degree and impulsively joins the US ARMY to follow her brother to Viet Nam. She’s going to look after him. Even before her arrival to Viet Nam,  her brother is killed and Frankie finds herself in way over her head, working in field hospitals, patching up severely mangled soldiers, and trying to stay alive herself. Through friendships and a pair of love interests, she survives and returns home to idyllic Coronado, California. But, everything has changed and mostly her. She’s witnessed things most peopke can’t even imagine. But she’s home now suffering PTSD, and a drug and alcohol addiction. Being home seems to be where her real  survival struggles truly begin. Faced with backlash from her family “women don’t go to war” and from a public fed up with all things Viet Nam, Frankie spirals into a life of gut-wrenching ups and downs. 
This story is so well-written, engaging and emotional. There were times I had to pause reading when the actions Of people made me so very angry and upset for Frankie. 
 THE WOMEN is A true masterpiece that everyone should read.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you @stmartinpress @netgalley for a copy of this book. Hannah does it again with an amazing story. This one is on Frankie and spans over many years starting during the Vietnam war. The story sucks you in from the first chapter. I love that this book showed the effect of war from a perspective of a female nurse. There is so much heartbreak but so hope as well. I love the friendship between Frankie, Barb & Ethel. Julia Whalen did a great job brining Frankie's personality to life. I felt her anger, the frustration and her joy.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars
There were women who served in the Vietnam war and Frankie McGrath was one of them. As an Army nurse she saw horrific injuries and death. After two years of services she returned to an America that was unwelcoming and disrespectful.  What was even worse was that fellow male veterans repeatedly told her that “women did not serve in Vietnam”.  
Frankie McGrath is the fictional hero in this novel but the author based her character on real life women who were brave enough to care for the soldiers in the middle of the battlefield.  Her life was hell during and after the war as she tried to function with unrecognized post traumatic stress disorder.  The book was totally absorbing and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the history and the atmosphere of that time. I was a young teen when America entered that war.  I remember the riots, the later change in attitude towards the war, and the lies told to the American people.  This was an emotional read but well worth it.
Was this review helpful?
Reviewing The Women by Kristin Hannah is proving to be a hard task to serve this epic tale being published in February the justice it deserves. In Part 1, Frankie McGrath decides to join the Army Nurse Corps to go to Vietnam, inspired by the enlistment of her brother into the Navy as well as the importance her father places on being a hero. The narrative follows Frankie throughout her service with the Army Nurse Corps, with Part 2 dealing with her struggle to rejoin the world she left behind for Vietnam.

Frankie, who was raised on a walled and gated estate on Coronado Island in California, is unprepared for just how primitive all the facilities are when she arrives at her post in the Thirty-Sixth Evac Mobile Hospital in Vietnam in 1967. She is soon overwhelmed by the absolute horror in the aftermath of the wounded arriving in a background of screaming injured, shouting of orders by the nurses and doctors, and the smoke, all the smoke. Two nurses, Ethel Flint and Barb Johnson, school Frankie in combat nursing, and the three build a friendship that will take them into life after the war where people keep telling them, there were no women serving in Vietnam.

The war is raging during Frankie’s first tour of duty. Often the only thing she can do for injured soldiers is to hold their hands until they die. The damage inflicted by mortar and bullets is at first overwhelming, but Frankie, like all the other military nurses, is forced to step up and do things she was never trained for like removing a spleen and closing the operation. With only three doctors assigned to her location, she learns more and more under their direction. After her time is served, she extends her tour because she realizes with the shortage of medical personnel, she is sorely needed.

Romance enters the picture when Frankie is pursued by Dr. Jamie Callahan, one of the doctors she works with. When she learns that he is one of those “war bachelors” her father had warned her about, she shuts down the relationship before it blooms. The last time she sees Jamie, his helicopter starting his pathway home has been shot down, and he becomes just another soldier with devastating injuries that will most likely claim his life. 

Soon after, Frankie is assigned to the Seventy-First Evac near Pleiku, nicknamed “Rocket City,” where the fighting is even heavier than her first posting. There, Frankie reunites with one of her brother’s Navy buddies, pilot Joseph Ryerson Walsh. After Rye swears he is no longer engaged to a woman in the States, Frankie allows herself to enter into a relationship with him, spending R&R together in Hawaii.

As if life in Vietnam is not hard enough, the women start hearing about how the homeland they left behind becomes divided by war and politics, how Vietnam heroes are not given the welcome back that they deserve. Barb becomes extremely active in protesting the war once she becomes a civilian again, and as often as she can, she includes Ethel and Frankie in the activities of the group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

While waiting for Rye to return to America, Frankie learns his helicopter was shot down, and there are no remains. Between the devastation to men’s bodies, the change of the Americans’ hearts about the war, and her own heart broken not once but twice, Frankie spirals down, becoming dependent on the pills, booze, and cigarettes she was introduced to in Vietnam. When she seeks help from the Veterans Administration, she is turned down once and then twice as only the men who fought in the war were recognized as veterans. 

There is so much to unpack in this historical fiction that pays tribute to those women who served and sacrificed only to be overlooked by others except for those they nurtured and those with whom they served. One day, Frankie will visit The Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., which includes the names of eight women, all of them nurses.

Kristin Hannah started her writing career solidly in women’s fiction with books like Firefly Lane but she moved to combining her women’s stories with  historical fiction, giving readers works about World War II in The Nightingale (2015) and Winter Garden (2010), and the Great Depression in The Four Winds (2018).

My review will be posted on Goodreads starting December 9, 2023.

I would like to thank St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for an objective review.
Was this review helpful?
Kristin Hannah has written about a fascinating topic not often mentioned in modern novels....the women who served their country in Vietnam.    Hannah has followed Frankie McGrath from her enlistment in the army through the aftermath of returning home from Vietnam to a country that was not celebrating its soldiers as heroes.  McGrath wants nothing more than to make her father proud of her, and follow in her brother's footsteps, Hannah explores the horrors of war, not from the soldiers persepctive but from those who cared for, rescured, and comforted the injured and the dying.  The story continues after McGrath's return from war and her experiences with those who denied the existence of women in vietnam.. McGrath self destructs and finally finds a path healing.    

I have read many Kristin Hannah novels and thoroughly enjoyed them..  This is not her best or my favorite, but definitely enjoyed it especially the topic which is so rarely (if ever) explored. There are a couple of twists (spoilers) that might be hard to swallow. Thank you for Netgalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
The Women was one of the best books I have read. I spent the first half of with a my throat and the second half with tears in my eyes. 

The Vietnam War ended when I was 24. This book brings back all of the emotions of that time. The writing is exquisite, bringing back all the emotions of that time  This is a book that I will read.several more times.

#VietnamWar #Netgalley #KristanHiggins #StMartinsPress #Nurses #FrankieMcGrath #FamilyDynamics
Was this review helpful?
I was a child in the 60s but the Vietnam war is a very vivid memory. Every night the news would tell the story of how many soldiers died. Or what villages the soldiers captured. It was never good. The Women is one of my favorite Kristin Hannah books because so little credit is given to the contribution of women during wartime. Hannah has given us the story of Frankie, a southern California girl who wants her life to be different. She's looking for adventure but also a change in expectations of women by society. She definitely finds more than she bargained for. Hannah puts us in in the middle of a bloody, brutal, meaningless battle that was the Vietnam war. But she also continues Frankie's story after the war. We are still seeing repercussions today of what that conflict did to the soldiers involved. And Hannah shines a light on the sacrifice and sorrow of the women that were just as involved in the war as the soldiers on the front line of battle.
 I voluntarily received a copy of this book from Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
I have thoroughly enjoyed every book I’ve read by Kristen Hannah so far and that’s a pretty high number. This book was very interesting, the historical detail all rang true, and it doesn’t overshadow the story itself. The author manages to weave a beautiful synergy between the two which isn’t something every historical writer can do. I highly recommend this and I don’t want to give away anything in the story, but read this book. 

#netgalley #thewomen
Was this review helpful?
Excellent story that draws you in from the get go...This is my first book by Kristin Hannah, who I have heard nothing but rave reviews on her work, and when I saw this, I knew I had to read it. Frankie McGrath is a woman who is young, idealistic, innocent, and sees the joy her father has in her brother, Finley when he signs up for the Vietnam war. Frankie decides to follow her brother, much to her fathers dismay and her mothers horror, only to realize as soon as she's there that she has absolutely no idea what she's doing and that signing up was a huge mistake that she can't take back. What unfolds next is her bonding with other women nurses, their journeys as they serve their tour in 'Nam, the aftermath of when they come home and step back into the lives they left behind, and deal with the fallout of loss, love, grief, trauma, and emotions in their own ways. A fantastically written story that pulls you in and doesn't let you go. Your heart goes out to Frankie. Highly loved this story!
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my own opinion*
Was this review helpful?
This book is like no other history fiction book I read this year. It was gripping, and I was immediately immersed in Frankie’s world. The first part was about her time in Vietnam, and the second part was about the aftermath of the war and the struggles she went through. The writing was so descriptive that it was easy to imagine the horror Frankie had seen as an Army nurse in Vietnam. My heart went out to Frankie for the entire book.  She was a tough, resilient, courageous woman and a true badass. The ending left me wanting a tissue with a few tears in my eyes. 

Also, I applaud Kristen Hannah for the intensive research on the Vietnam War for this book. Not only did she feel obligated to tell about the heroic women of the war, but she spent years making sure she did the story justice. She also wanted to educate readers about the war and what veterans go through after coming home. I highly recommend reading for the upcoming year!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for my copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
An extraordinary story that needs to be told. The women who went to war in Vietnam fought a battle much different than the men. They suffered and were just as traumatized. Just like the men, upon their return they were shunned. Here is a great story that every woman should read.
Was this review helpful?
The Women by Kristin Hannah unfolds a poignant narrative set against the turbulent backdrop of the 1960s in America. The story revolves around Frankie McGrath, a nursing student who, inspired by changing times and familial ties, joins the Army Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War. This novel brings to light the often overlooked sacrifices and courage of women who found themselves on the front lines, both in war and a politically fractured nation. A profoundly emotional and richly drawn narrative, this story stands as a testament to the heroism of women in an era where their contributions were too frequently forgotten. The audiobook version of this book is equally fantastic, featuring an outstanding narrator.
Was this review helpful?
I saw the audio book available,  and wanted that version beings that it was available so I will give full review for that.  Thank you.
Was this review helpful?
Kristin Hannah is a Favorite Author and this book is Exceptional. It is an absorbing story dealing with women’s often unrecognized role in war. This one takes place in the 1960’s and during the Vietnam War. The book really is a no holds look at the horror war causes, especially the Vietnam War as it went on for so long and many wanted it to stop. 

The Main Character, Frankie, I have felt for so much. It is incredible how dismissed women were. She does not realize what a dangerous place she will be in as she is not told when she signs up. She actually takes her flight to Vietnam in her White Uniform, including a girdle and panty hose! She joins the Army Combat Nurses, and is always close to serious danger. She also is responsible for trying to save the lives of all the injured young men and also civilians who are brought to her Evacuation Hospital. It is chilling. Yet, Frankie is an exceptional Nurse and has superb Surgical Skills. The scenes are vivid and feel exceptionally real. 

Going home is always on her mind, but what will that be like? It ends up this is where the book really became emotional for me. Frankie is expected to be the young, naive, and carefree girl she used to be. This of course is not possible. Yet, she is treated badly as she returns to America. People curse and spit at Veterans. She is supposed to both carry the shame of all the conflicting feeling of this war and also just move on with her life easily. Since, women were told they were not even in combat zones, their role was not even noticed. It also makes her feel so alienated since she can’t even speak about her experience with other Veterans. She is dismissed. This I found especially hard to take in as I was a young girl when the war was ending, yet I remember hearing Veterans cursed at and called names. I always remember thinking that was really wrong. Frankie has an understandable difficult time readjusting to regular life. She is troubled, confused, and angry. She should have been able to get the help she needed. So, yes she is a strong woman, but also a wounded person due to the way she is treated. There is always a thread of hope throughout the book that Frankie must fight very hard to find her new self. I really loved her character.

Thank you St. Martin’s Press, Kristin Hannah, and NetGalley for granting me a copy of this book. I always leave reviews of books I read and am happy to do so.
Was this review helpful?
Frankie McGrath is a young woman, living on Coronado Island in California in the late 1960s, during the years of the Vietnam War. In The Women, Kristin Hannah examines the experience of being a woman serving in the Army Nurse Corps in Vietnam during the war, and the treatment the received as returning veterans, often overlooked and denigrated and told "there were no women in Vietnam". Frankie is our main protagonist, a recently graduated nurse, eagerly joining the ANC to be closer to her brother who has enlisted with the Navy. 

Frankie's time in Vietnam is violent and frantic, but she also bonds with those she works alongside, making lifelong friends in her fellow nurses. Upon her return to the United States after serving for 2 years, Frankie struggles to find her place in the world as she is looked down upon by the citizens of the US, with the popularity of the war on the decline, but she is also not recognized as a peer of the other returning veterans and struggles with her own mental health as a result. 

While this book felt somewhat formulaic and predictable, I think reading it and understanding that women are just as lucky to experience PTSD and the resulting addiction and emotional disorders as men who have served is important. It highlights how underserved women were upon returning from the war, left to fumble their own way to recovery. The writing is well done, both descriptive and informative and certainly presents a timeframe that is not as commonly written about in Historical Fiction.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the electronic ARC of this novel for review.
Was this review helpful?
Frankie impulsively joins the Army as a nurse to follow her brother to Vietnam. She is unprepared for the chaos and destruction of war, as well as the trauma of coming home after.

Another wonderful Kristin Hannah read. She always hits it out of the park and I just know I’m in for a ride. I loved how she took the female nurse perspective for Vietnam. It was truly a perspective I’ve never read before and important to learn about, as they were overshadowed by politics and misogyny. It was such an interesting time with political turmoil and counter culture change in the air. I loved every moment of this book; including the war time and Frankie’s homecoming.

“There was no winning in war. Not this war, anyway. There was just pain and death and destruction; good men coming home either broken beyond repair or in body bags, and bombs dropping on civilians, and a generation of children being orphaned.”

The Women comes out 2/6.
Was this review helpful?
I haven’t read many books set during the Vietnam War and I felt that this novel was very well researched.  I found particularly poignant the contrasts between the protests in the US and what it is was really like to serve in Vietnam.  Of course, the real strength of the story is about how it’s told from the perspective of “the women”.  Kristin Hannah did a masterful job in giving us enough details to really feel like we were there, without becoming too over-sensational.  I think it was also a good representation of PTSD in all its forms.  We really feel the full gamut of emotions through the main character, Frankie.  I was pleased with the satisfying ending, solidifying why Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors.
#NetGalley #KristinHannah #StMartinsPress
Was this review helpful?

I have thoroughly loved previous works by Kristin Hannah before (The Four Winds and The Great Alone) so was very excited to read The Women. However, it took me about 100 pages to truly get into the story, and even then, I remained lukewarm toward the characters throughout the book. While the historical setting was interesting (I know very little about the Vietnam war), I found the characterization to be too predictable. Many readers will love The Women and the unique story it shares, I however, would have preferred things to be a bit grittier and less formulaic.
Was this review helpful?
I think Kristin Hannah's writing is just not my fave. The pacing of this one felt off to me, and there was just too much going on, like Hannah was trying to say too much and was a little too on-the-nose. Still, I was super interested in the plot, and the setting is well-researched. I learned a lot about women who served in the Vietnam War, which is something I've heard next to nothing about before.
Was this review helpful?