Cover Image: The Foxhole Victory Tour

The Foxhole Victory Tour

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Member Reviews

Beautiful. Brilliant. Amazing. All adjectives that I’d use to describe this book. It was just so darn good! The time period is my favorite, so I’m kind of predisposed to like books set then, but this earned my 5 stars on its merits.

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Maggie and Catherine both join a USO tour as performers. Together with their team, they travel throughout Northern Africa performing and growing as people.

I really enjoyed their adventures. I find the idea of USO performances fascinating, and I think that each character was realistic and compelling. I especially liked Catherine's journey as she took command of her own life standing up to her family for what she wants.

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I really wanted to like this book. I am generally interested in WW2 fiction, and this book took a fresh look at the subject. However, I was captivated by the characters or the story. I think that I kept expecting something big to happen, and it didn't seem like it happened. I thought that the author tied the story up nicely and left the characters in good places, but I just wasn't invested in the outcome.

Thanks Netgalley and publisher for the free e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion.

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I thought Amy Lynn Green's The Foxhole Victory Tour to be a pretty good piece of World War II era novel. I give it four stars.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House for this book.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite gonre and this book is right up there at the top of my list.

I have never read a book about the USO women and what they went through to entertain our troops during WW II. These were truly brave and amazing women.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend.

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Follows a group of performers in N. Africa during WWII. Each character has an interesting story, and their adventures are interesting and exciting. A little romance too.

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Excellent! The setting, characters and plot I found very interesting. Well written with an exceptional ending.
Great action and well developed characters!

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4.5 stars

One of the things I enjoy most about historical fiction is that I get to learn about things I never studied in school – all while being entertained with a good story. In The Foxhole Victory Tour, Amy Lynn Green takes us beyond the Hollywood version of the USO tours to the ordinary men & women who sacrificed comfort and safety to bring joy to active duty servicepeople through music, wonder, and laughter. These unsung heroes didn’t get star treatment or accommodations and sometimes got a bit closer to the front lines than I realized. Reading this richly-engaging novel made me want to read even more about the ‘civilian’ (aka not the celebrity) USO troupes, about the real life figures who inspired Green’s story.

I loved the dual perspective between Maggie and Catherine, two musicians from very different walks of life and personalities. One, the naturally witty and feisty daughter of a Salvation Army minister, unafraid to speak her mind or take risks. The other, a sheltered debutante born to wealth and privilege, longing to be loved for herself and freed from her parents warring expectations. Even the narrative felt different depending on whose POV we were reading, evidence of Green’s brilliant writing choices and talent. I adored watching both of these young woman come into their own on this journey, each of them finding something within themselves they didn’t previously realize they possessed.

Along with Maggie’s trumpet-playing-comedy bit and Catherine’s violin act, they are joined by a blues singer, a magician, a tap dancer, and their manager. Each with their own insecurities, flaws, and strengths that they bring along. And while the members of the fictional USO troupe spotlighted in The Foxhole Victory Tour all joined up for individually different reasons at first glance, when we dig deeper into the characters’ layers we end up seeing a lot of similarities after all. Purpose. Autonomy. Belonging. I loved how Green wove their stories together into a family-like unit by the time all is said and done. Not a perfect family, to be sure – what family is? – but one that had been through proverbial (and some literal) fire together and survived all the stronger for it. In addition to learning about what they did for the troops and what they experienced in the process, this element of the story really spoke to me.

Bottom Line: The Foxhole Victory Tour by Amy Lynn Green is a compelling and smartly-written novel that brings to life a little known aspect of WW2 history and highlights the humanity of war – the sorrows, the fears, the injustices, yes, but also the moments where joy and faith and love win out over the rest. I was fascinated by the history and captivated by the characters, and I wasn’t ready for it to be finished when I turned the last page. I would gladly spend more time with these characters, should the author be so inclined to revisit them in a future story! A dash of romance and notes of faith both fit well with the natural flow of the story and add further dimensions for readers to embrace in the main characters. Sign up for this USO tour post haste – you won’t be sorry!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)

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I thought I was tired of reading world war II books, but this was so good. It was unique, and the performing in me loved reading about the troupe and their service to the country. Highly recommend.

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Green has become a go to author for me in recent years. Thank you, Net Galley for introducing me to Green's wonderful prose and strong character-based stories.

We have two ladies, Maggie McCleod, a tomboy, who is the daughter of a Salvation Army pastors. Catherine Duquette comes from a wealthy family, though her parents are divorced and constantly seek to win her favour by competing against each other. Both ladies play in an orchestral band together, though they don't really know each other well.

They both receive an opportunity to join the Foxhole tour to North Africa during the war. These tours help boost the morale of those Americans who are bravely fighting in the war. It's an interesting premise for a story, especially when one adds that both women are running from the expectations of the parents. Maggie, a trumpet player, has the opportunity to serve the Salvos by playing in their band and Catherine, a violinist, has expectations of being married off to one of her parents preferred beaus.

The story is told through both ladies eyes and it's a revealing study in how they both grow both in their performance capability but more significantly as women who can stand on their own two feet and not be held back by either the expectations of their parents nor that of what society may ask of them.

I enjoyed viewing North African from Maggie and Catherine's eyes. It was tough going, not ever knowing what style of accomodation awaited them at each port and the lack of everyday facilities like showering, washing clothes, etc. Both ladies adapted pretty well to the often trying conditions.

There are another 4 people in the Foxhole troop plus their leader and we get a glimpse of each of their characters but the story centres on Maggie and Catherine. I particularly enjoyed Maggie. She was no fuss, direct, loved sport and was a very good trumpeter.

The pace of the story was generally slow and there wasn't a great deal of action nor conflict that lifted the pace or stirred me. Green's prose is beautiful and the ladies stories simply roll off the page very easily and it's an enjoyable read. Might it have been a stronger story minus 50-100 pages? Perhaps as much of the day to day was a little repetitive even if in a different port or location.

This was a 3.5 for me but hasn't changed my view on Green's capabilities and I'll happily read her next story.

I feel fortunate having received an early ebook copy of the story from Bethany House via net Galley but this has had no bearing on my review.

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Whenever I am looking at books for potential review, one of the first things I check out is the author. Is it someone I have read before? Seen around the bogging world? Maybe it’s someone I had on my TBR or it could be a new author that sounds interesting. In this case, Amy Lynn Green is a new to me author. I didn’t recognize any of her books nor had I heard any buzz for her, but sometimes that in of itself is a draw! Sometimes I want the authors that fly under the radar since buzz doesn’t always mean ‘must read’. That’s how I felt about this one, I wanted a new to my author so I could enjoy the book without pretense.

Besides being a new to me author, the other draw for this book was the setting. So many WWII books are set in England or France but this book is set in North Africa and instantly I felt compelled to read it! The WWII historical fiction market can be so saturated and it’s hard to distinguish a story and make it stand out, but changing the location is one such way and in this case I was all about it. The description and setting sold me on this book and since it was one of my first historical fiction novels of the year, I had high expectations.

Early reviewers raved about this book, and many reviewers read other books by Green. I agree with many of the reviews, this was a stunning book in many regards and while I haven’t read anything by this author before, I can see why other reviews loved her books so much! She has a great storytelling style and she pays attention to historical details. I would certainly be open to reading other books by her in the future!

Summary

In World War II, worlds collide when performers across the United States unite to tour North Africa in a USO variety show.

Vibrant and scrappy Maggie McCleod tried not to get fired from her wartime orchestra, but she can’t keep from speaking her mind, so an overseas adventure with the USO’s camp show seems like the perfect fresh start. Wealthy and elegant Catherine Duquette signs with the USO to leave behind her restrictive life of privilege and to find out what happened to the handsome pilot whose letters mysteriously stopped arriving.

The two women are joined by an eclectic group of performers–a scheming blues singer, a veteran tap dancer, and a brooding magician–but the harmony among their troupe is shattered when their tour manager announces he will soon recommend one of them for a new job in the Hollywood spotlight. Each of the five members has a reason to want the contract, and they’ll do whatever is necessary to get it. As their troupe travels closer to combat in Tunisia, personal crises and wartime dangers only intensify, until not only their careers but also their lives are on the line. (summary from Goodreads)


Review

Prior to reading this book, I was aware that during WWII a lot of performers traveled to the frontlines to provide entertainment to troops. Clearly to boost moral among the troops, but I didn’t fully understand how entertainment and the things that performers did worked and how much of am impact it made for the troops. Of course this book is historical fiction but the author clearly did research on the performances and the region to create an accurate depiction. I really enjoyed learning about the variety shows and the performers. The characters weren’t rich and famous Hollywood entertainers, but rather regular people who came together to make this variety show for the troops and I thought that was special in of itself since I know that many of the performers who helped boost troop moral were famous, having these characters be more every day people I thought made the story a lot more special.

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For me personally, my favorite character was Catherine. I could relate to her desire to prove herself to her family and just her general upbringing. The other characters were all well drawn and developed with their own unique backstory, but for me it was Catherine that I connected with the most. I loved that this book bad multiple characters for readers to connect with in unique ways. Some might like Catherine, while others enjoyed Maggie more or perhaps the other characters in the variety show. I think it will give readers unique perspectives and different characters to explore and enjoy.

Overall this book ticks all the boxes for me. Strong unique characters, a stunning setting, historical fiction with details, a unique and exotic backdrop, and with a lot of emotion and heart. This was a wonderfully written book and I loved taking my time to enjoy and process everything. Green really included a lot of great historical details about the location, show and war within this book and her research and attention to detail shows. Bethany House always puts out wonderful historical fiction and this book was no different! If you are looking for a book that transports you to a unique location (read taking a book vacation!) and provides a meaningful story with well written characters then look no further, this book is a must read! So far for 2024 is off to a wonderful book start!

Book Info and Rating

Format 396 pages, Paperback

Expected publication January 23, 2024 by Bethany House Publishers

ISBN 9781493445189 (ISBN10: 1493445189)

Free review copy provided by publisher, Bethany House in partnership with Austen Prose Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: historical fiction

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Maggie McCleod grew up in the bad part of town helping her Salvation Army preacher father evangelize on street corners, in soup kitchens, and at the local corps. She played her trumpet in the band and sat beside prostitutes at church. Her unusual life gave her street smarts and an enduring love for playing the trumpet.

As World War II rages on, Maggie dreams of doing something to make a difference. Playing in an all-female orchestra to entertain the masses at home satisfies her, but she could do much more.

When her sharp wit and dislike for pompous men get her fired from her job, she accepts an invitation to join a traveling USO (United Servicemen Organization) unit dedicated to entertaining the men in the trenches. A ragtag troupe of entertainers embarks on a whirlwind tour of the front lines, facing untold dangers from without and dissension within.

Everyone in the troupe has something to hide and something to gain—the biggest prize being a recommendation to join Bob Hope on tour. The wealthy Catherine Duquette escapes her contentious parents and seeks to find the serviceman who stole her heart on a dance floor in Iowa. His letters stop arriving, and Catherine desperately wants to know his fate.

Mr. Gabriel Kaminski, the magician, hides his pain behind a brooding exterior. Judith, the singer, bosses, spies, and tattles—making her universally disliked by the other members. Howie, a washed-up entertainer who hides behind a smile, seems bent on buying favors with their manager, Mr. Douglas.

How can a ragtag troupe hope to put on shows night after night in war-torn northern Africa? But each performance, each adventure, and each mishap draws them closer together until they can see beyond their pain.

When their tour ends, who will win, and what will happen to the others?

What I Loved About This Book

Green excels in crafting quirky characters and tossing them into unlikely circumstances. The Foxhole Victory Tour will entertain and delight readers with its mix of history, romance, and heart. Readers will relate to each character’s need for community and the unlikely bonds they forge as they travel and perform together under adverse circumstances.

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I really enjoyed this Christian historical fiction book. I was excited to learn more about the North African front in WWII and loved how the author included historical nuggets about the place and people, including the clothes, food, and landscape. The USO part was fun, especially the cameo by Bob Hope. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, “For the Boys.”

I loved how the women bucked tradition and went for what they wanted. A great read!

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A refreshingly unique view of a lesser known facet of WWII, this book kept me engaged from the beginning. Watching the unlikely cast of characters, with their divergent quirks and personalities, come together into a ragtag group of unpredictable friends was such an enjoyable ride. And the historical details, paired with the dynamic settings that made me feel as though I were sweltering in the African heat, made this a read not to be missed. My first book genre love is historical fiction, and spending time in some historical fiction brought me a great deal of joy.
Maggie and Catherine couldn’t be more different in personality, physical bearing, and familial history. And yet, through a whirlwind sequence of events, the two are thrown together into the world of showbiz and performing, by joining a USO variety show.
Though she might make me a little crazy in real life, I loved Maggie on page. She is just the kind of feisty, spunky heroine I love to read about in my books. As stated in the book, the girl has moxie, and lots of it. Her forthright manner, ability to adapt, and instinctual desire to help people, make me love her. And she provides the perfect counterpoint to Catherine, the wealthy and pampered, refined, timid and soft spoken woman, trying to venture out on her own, despite her overbearing and controlling family.
The book absolutely needed both characters. I loved watching them each grow and change over the course of their African USO tour, and how they became such good friends. I thought it was neat that the book was written from the POV of these two females, with only some occasional letters thrown in from the male director of the USO unit. There are other characters (Howie, Gabriel, and Julia) that feature in the book in some big ways, but we don’t get their POV. While I expected it at first, I think the way it was written was very well done.
I would say this book most particularly fits into the historical fiction genre, with a whisper of budding romance. There are brief glimpses of faith throughout that are the perfect touch for a bit of a Christian element. While it is a WWII novel, it isn’t heavy or depressing. There are a couple of particularly meaningful scenes, where the troupe members utilize their music in specific ways to bring comfort to the soldiers and people to whom they perform, and they are beautifully done. I got choked up during one scene in particular, and the hymn Nearer, My God, To Thee, will never be the same.
This is a must read for fans of WWII fiction. It was my first read by Amy Lynn Green, but I’m looking forward to more. Her writing brought the story alive for me.

*CW/TW: talk of dead/dying soldiers; one scene of being shot at by a fighter plane; overbearing and controlling parents; demeaning language toward women not uncommon to the era


**Thanks to the publisher and Austen Prose for the copy. I have provided this honest review of my own volition.


Quotes I loved:
“Pretty girls aren’t meant for ugly wars.”

“The way I see it, if some of those men are going to die in battle, the best thing we can do is sing them home.”

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This was my first time reading one of Amy Lynn Green’s books and I was totally sold on trying anything she writes by the third chapter. I love how scrupulously historically accurate this is, splashing me straight into the 1940s and keeping me there the whole time. Even the dialogue catches the correct flavor of the times and feels delightfully authentic, just as though the book itself was written in that time frame.

Maggie and Catherine are very different heroines and both have distinct character growth arcs. As the whole USO group is pitted against itself for a career prize, they have to sort out just how far they are willing to go to gain that prize.

It was great to have a book that was more focused on the two ladies than on a single aim of romance. One does have a likely suitor and the other an unlikely, but that’s kept mostly to the side of the main goal of them growing and maturing as women.

Recommended for all ages and especially for history lovers. Content: war; description of a pinup figure on a plane nose

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.

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What a marvelous story....

Set in Africa during WWII, it brought together a rag tag group of people in need of a second chance, maybe even their first chance. Written from the perspective of two different women, both needing something and both as different as can be. Maggie wants a chance to get away from her family and find her calling in life and Catherine is out to escape her smothering socialite parents. They get pulled into a USO tour sent to North Africa and learn what they truly want and what they are made of.

This story is historical fiction at it's finest and there is a little something for everyone. A little romance, a little heartbreak, a little adventure, and a lot of busting out of the mold. With faith and Christianity weaved beautifully into the tale, there is so much to ponder and feel.

This book transported me to a part of WWII that I knew little about. It took me to places I never dreamed of going. It had humor and heart. The relationships were organic and beautifully developed. The side characters were just as interesting. The voices for Maggie and Catherine were so different, I truly felt I was reading from their own perspectives.

This is the kind of story that sticks with you as it lets you be a fly on the wall to history. I was absolutely delighted that I had the opportunity to read this story.

I received an early copy from the publisher through NetGalley and this is my honest review.

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Wow! I would give this book more than 5 stars if I could! When I reached the end of the book, I just wanted it to keep going! I laughed, and I cried. I think my heart even stopped a few times!

The characters are relatable, and each one touched my heart. I became deeply invested in their lives. The way that the group became a family was heartwarming.

I especially enjoyed visiting the various places described in the book! My favorite is Casablanca, Morocco! The imagery brought the city to life.

It's books like these that make me think and desire to learn more!

I was provided a copy of the book by Bethany House through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The Foxhole Victory Tour, written by Amy Lynn Green, is a captivating historical fiction that delves into the lives of ordinary individuals who contribute to the war effort during World War II. In this novel, two young women with contrasting backgrounds seize the opportunity to showcase their talents by joining the USO tour in North Africa. However, they soon realize that the reality of this experience is far from the glamour of show business, and the peril they encounter will forever alter their lives. 

Maggie McCleod, the daughter of a Salvation Army preacher, possesses a unique talent for the trumpet and stand-up comedy, which deviates from her father's expectations. As she strives to demonstrate that God's work can manifest in various forms, Maggie faces numerous challenges but discovers more than she could have ever expected.

Catherine Duquette, a wealthy and sophisticated woman, enlists with the USO to escape her sheltered life of privilege and uncover the truth behind the sudden halt of letters from a dashing pilot. Together, alongside a diverse and eccentric group of performers, they form an unexpected and tight-knit family

The Foxhole Victory Tour offers a captivating glimpse into the experience of performing with the USO, providing rich historical details and an immersive setting that enhances the significance of the era. The characters are skillfully crafted, resonating with authenticity and emotional depth. Despite its slower pace, the story remains enjoyable and stands out for its uniqueness. I wholeheartedly recommend this wonderful book.

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I have read a great deal about WWII but never a book about those who went overseas to entertain the troops. Straight away the mind goes to Bob Hope or Marilyn Munroe (although she was in Korea not WWII). The Foxhole Victory Tour - apart from its stunning cover - looks at the unsung heroes who endured difficult conditions to entertain the troops on USO’s Foxhole Circuit.

‘She’d spent most of her life trying to do what other people wanted. This was her golden opportunity, and she was going to take it.’

This is not the glamour associated with tours by Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope, or Carole Lombard. This story recounts the lives of performers in a USO troupe, why they signed up and how their lives changed in the Summer of 1943 in North Africa. Amy Lynn has done fabulous research (there is a great Author’s note at the end about the historical events behind the novel, inclusive of great questions for a book club group) about the conditions, atmosphere and dangers for all involved.

‘Suddenly, the uniforms they wore seemed to come with more responsibility. They weren’t play acting for a costume ball. This really was the US Army, and that meant the potential for danger.’

All up I found this to be a super story both inspiring and impactful for all concerned on this particular USO tour in WWII. It tells the backstory for the main characters and has themes of friendship and family, desire and danger, with a little bit of romance. This is a Christian book with subtle nods to God and faith, especially in troubled times. It slotted in really well with Maggie’s struggle with her Salvation Army upbringing and her father’s refusal to accept her brand of music.

I most definitely recommend The Foxhole Victory Tour for a unique look at a different side of WWII and the challenges for organising such a tour and the brave entertainers who partook. It was a rare thing to travel through North Africa and appreciate the impact of war as Amy Lynn expertly captured the settings. This book has it all - fun and laughter, friendship and love, setting and history - for readers of this time period you are sure to enjoy this unique perspective on WWII.

‘No, their little variety unit wasn’t famous, and they still missed notes and lost their voices and complained about the weather. They sure didn’t have the glamour and star power of the bigger Hollywood tours, or an entourage to help with makeup, hair, and costuming. But they were brave enough to fly into bitter headwinds in biplanes that looked like five-and-dime models, determined enough to give one more encore after a long day of travel, and ordinary enough to remind the soldiers of home. And it turned out that’s all the troops needed.’









This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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I am such a fan of Amy Lynn Green's novels, and I just really loved this one too!

This story touches on a part of history that I previously knew nothing about. I had no idea there was such a troupe of performers going around doing events for the soldiers. (Sounds like an excellent morale booster)

I really enjoyed the main characters, Maggie and Catherine. Not really friends when the story begins. But, as their journey progresses, they get to know each other, and maybe mostly, become friends.

The journey their troupe goes on, from the States all the way over to North Africa, I found it quite fascinating. Each of the characters is also on a personal, internal, emotional journey. The author masterfully has written this, and I loved getting to know them in this way.

All in all, this is an absolutely beautiful story, touching, and informative, and I highly recommend it!

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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