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The Foxhole Victory Tour

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Member Reviews

Another startlingly fresh story from Green filled with likable characters who experience growth against the backdrop of a war that changed all their lives. The closer I came to the end, the more doubtful I became that the ending could ever satisfy since each member of the troupe deserved what they were competing for, at least in my mind. But it all came together beautifully!

Amy Lynn Green's epistolary style shines in this partly narrative book about a little-known side of the warfront. I was drawn in and utterly intrigued by the whole concept, but I stayed for the cast of characters who capture your heart and have you rooting for them all. The suspense and very real danger as they approached the front had me reading late into the night! Brava!

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“Pretty girls aren’t meant for ugly wars.”

When the group of ragtag misfits formed a band and were hired as Variety Unit 14 intended for the Foxhole Circuit, they had no idea what they’d signed up for and how their lives would be forever changed. The United Service Organization (USO) hired performers to entertain the American troops at bases and hospitals, most often near the frontlines. For them, the promise of $85/mo and a 3-month contract was appealing. Exciting, really.

Unit 14 was hired to perform for troops overseas and would soon head out on the troopship, the John Ericsson, from New York to Casablanca. The two-week crossing enabled the six members time to get to know each other and get accustomed to a life of service. It’s here where the author’s amazing characterization skills come into play! All of a sudden, she was able to place me on the troopship and experience the gamut of emotions.

Meet the members:

🎤Floyd is the straight-laced manager and is anxious to pull together this motley crew of performers. He has his work cut out for him. I could feel the frustration and the pressure.

🎤Gabriel Kaminski, aka Kaminski the Mysterious, the master of illusions magician. He has a limp and members are curious. He’s as mysterious as his showmanship and one of the girls is about to discover if he’s romance worthy.

🎤Howard ‘Lightfoot’ Jones, aka Howie, is a WW1 vet, a widower, and a Vaudeville performer with skills as a ventriloquist, a harmonica player, and a tap dancer.

🎤Judith Blair is an insecure and jaded mezzo-soprano crooner in her late 30s and she plans on mesmerizing the troops with her bluesy voice.

🎤Catherine Duquette is an ingenuous 21-year-old socialite and violinist who signs up to experience freedom from her overbearing parents. She plans on mesmerizing troops with her beauty and youth. She has a secret.

🎤Margaret ‘Maggie’ McCleod is an impetuous girl whose comedy act and trumpet playing caught the eye of the USO. She’s got moxie and she’s hiding a secret, too. This Salvation Army preacher’s daughter hasn’t discussed this assignment with her parents!

The group arrive just after Operation Torch and are sent out to entertain troops in the front lines - the battlefields of Tunisia. It’ll soon become obvious that these civilians had no idea what the soldiers had been facing. It’s at this point that the book becomes extremely interesting. What started as an exciting promise and “quite the prestigious thing to do” suddenly becomes fraught with danger. The interaction of these girls learning to live life on their own terms is compelling and I was completely engaged as they struggled to serve Him as best they could in a less-than-ideal setting.

“These were America’s boys, willing to sacrifice everything for the cause. The least they could do was give them something to smile about along the way.”

I loved the different lens through which to view WW2 and the exploration of identity, faith, self-worth, love, sacrifice, and the power of music.

This new-to-me author has wowed me with her engrossing historical fiction and I can’t wait to read more.

I was gifted this copy by Bethany House and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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The Foxhole Victory Tour is much different that any of the other World War II era books I have read. Rather than focusing on what was occurring in Europe, this story focuses on the members of a USO troupe touring in North Africa. The author examines their motives for joining the troupe and the evolution of the relationships among the members. Character development if key to the story, and well done by the author Amy Lynn Green. She also very adeptly immerses her readers in the settings from a Minneapolis performance hall to the streets of Casablanca, Morocco. The plot moves along at a slow, steady pace. Some readers may be wishing for a bit of intrigue, but if they stay with the sweet story, there are memorable moments and lessons to be learned.

I am grateful to have received a complimentary copy of The Foxhole Victory Tour from Bethany House via NetGalley without obligation. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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The Foxhole Victory Tour tells the lesser-known stories of the USO troops who venture into harm's way to boost the morale of our servicemen and women serving overseas. In this novel we follow a small variety act as they venture across North Africa during World War II.

Scrappy Maggie McLeod, a city girl from Chicago who lacks finesse, but not humor isn’t certain how she managed to secure a spot on this tour but is determined to make the most of it. Her trumpet playing and quick wit keep her on stage, but her ability to play pickup ball and mingle with soldiers make her a fan favorite. She worms her way into the hearts of all her fellow performers, especially a particular magician.

Catherine Duquette wants nothing more than to get out from under the thumbs of her fighting parents. Both seem to think they know what’s best for her future, and neither is willing to let her have an opinion. This tour provides an opportunity for Catherine to explore her independence away from the watchful eyes of her parents and their upper crust society friends.

The other three entertainers in their troupe, as well as their director, have lesser storylines, but certainly enhance the two leading ladies’ stories as they find their way in the world without their parent’s guidance. Howie the vaudeville performer provides more comedic relief, Gabriel the moody magician a dose of pragmatism, and Judith serves as a bit of a jaded performer who needs new outlook on life.

Initially the troupe struggles for cohesiveness as they knew nothing about each other other than Maggie and Catherine, and when they finally begin to gel, they find out that they are vying against each other for a single spot on Bob Hope’s variety show. Despite the underlying competitive tension, the group forms a tight-knit bond as they come closer and closer to the front lines in Tunisia.

The Foxhole Victory Tour is a story of camaraderie in the face of danger and how humor brings levity to even the most terrifying of situations. Thank you to NetGalley, Bethany House Publishers, and of course the author Amy Lynn Green for the advanced copy of the book. The Foxhole Victory Tour is out on Tuesday. All opinions are my own.

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The Foxhole Victory Tour takes us on a journey through the non-celebrity entertainment offered for the enlisted troops during WWII and provides two fascinating heroines as a focal point for that trip.

Trumpet player Maggie McCleod has never met a rule she didn’t want to break. Her latest bit of bother has found her unemployed yet again, fired from the Swinging Sweethearts, a wartime orchestra in the style of Glenn Miller but made up of pretty young women. It had been Maggie’s dream job, but her free spirit, coupled with her big mouth, ensured that this latest escapade into the working world ended in failure, too. Maggie is, therefore, deeply surprised when a man approaches her in the lobby after her last performance, offering her a position with the USO. She doesn’t even have to think about it and signs up on the spot. She is equally surprised when co-worker Catherine Duquette, the beautiful chief violinist and star of the Sweethearts, overhears the conversation and asks to join as well. The two have never been friends – Catherine is by-the-book perfection, whereas Maggie is a funny, scrappy mess – but maybe that will change on the tour.

Eh, maybe not. Catherine didn’t sign on in a burst of camaraderie or patriotic fervor. Her wealthy, influential parents’ contentious divorce has placed her in an impossible situation between them, with her mother wanting her to join the Philharmonic and her father wanting her to settle down and marry the man he plans to have run his company. Catherine wants to earn her place in a prestigious orchestra, not have her mother’s contacts give it to her, and she is in love with a handsome pilot who went to fight in North Africa and hasn’t written since. Maybe this tour will give her the chance to find out what has happened and why he’s not writing. It will at least give her a respite from the emotional war her parents have dragged her into.

Eh, maybe not. The strangers who join Maggie and Catherine on the tour are acrimonious. Judith, the blues singer, is determined to be the star. Howie the tap-dancer, a widower, is aging out of the business and struggling with concerns about what to do next. Gabriel, the handsome, surly magician, has a chip on his shoulder and is none too fond of Maggie’s brash ways. The situation is worsened when they learn Bob Hope is looking to their manager for a recommendation for his own tour. Only one of them can have the coveted position, and each of them is determined to be that person.

Adding to the stress is the fact that life on the road isn’t pretty. Their unit visits soldiers who are combat adjacent – the USO isn’t being sent to the front lines, but they are being sent to the bases and places where the men are either on their way to active battle or just returning from it. Bathing has to be done with river water out of a helmet. Their transports break down on the regular, and the accommodations can be pretty uncomfortable. But the work they do matters, and the soldiers they perform for are beyond grateful for it. Will their little troupe come together as friends, becoming comrades in arms as they serve their country? Or will they remain fighting for the top position, unable to recognize the importance of unity in the face of war?

I think we all know the answers to those questions. As they travel from England to Tunisia and struggle through bombings and crash landings, this disparate group slowly learns each other’s stories. And what they learn helps them to realize that everyone has depth and value. Maggie and Gabriel initially have an especially hard time with this as they spar almost constantly. It takes a while to break through the surface tension and realize they each have a reason for what they do.

The story is told from both Catherine’s and Maggie’s viewpoints. This works really well since the rich, sheltered Catherine and the street-wise, bold Maggie truly experience the exact same things differently. Maggie knows how to take care of herself, she knows what she wants from life, and she knows, essentially, her own worth. What she doesn’t know is how to get on with people – she always seems to rub those in authority the wrong way – nor how best to serve God. Her family are all in the Salvation Army, but Maggie doesn’t feel called to that. She wants to bring glory to God through her music and life but hasn’t been shown how that can be done outside of full-time ministry.

Gabriel is another conundrum for Maggie. He seems to single her out, wanting to be in her company one moment, picking a fight (or so it seems to her) the next. He flat-out tells her he is not interested in love or marriage, but everyone else on the tour is convinced he’s courting her. It seems her first taste of romance is proving as disastrous as her work history.

Catherine loves music, but her family can’t understand that. Her mother sees it only as a means to an end – climbing as high as she can via her career and social status. Her father sees it as an impediment to what she should be doing – marrying the man of his choice. Her naïveté has her struggling to circumnavigate the real world without their help. A good example of this is her love affair with a brash pilot whom Maggie swears isn’t what he claims to be. The tour has been a good training ground for Catherine to learn how to live life on her own terms, but it just might prove a disaster for her romantic dreams.

This novel is published by Bethany House, which raises expectations of a strong Christian theology in the narrative, but the author handles this portion of her story with an extremely light hand. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a high level of religiosity and 1 being zero mention of God, I would rank the story a 4. Maggie would appear to be the only devout Christian in the troupe, and her struggle, as mentioned above, is how best to serve Him. The author handles this arc very well and I enjoyed watching Maggie grow in her faith.

There is a romance here, but the focus of The Foxhole Victory Tour is finding your place in the world and the people you are meant to share it with. I appreciated the author showing us the seriousness of war while still focusing on the light within those tumultuous shadows. In fact, the book’s only flaw is that everything works out perfectly for everyone. That said, I found the novel a quick, enjoyable read with a fascinating look at the history of the USO and how it worked. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction.

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Maggie McCleod is the boogie woogie trumpet girl in a B Team USO troup. She is touring with four other "not yet ready for prime time" players: Catherine the virtuoso violinist, Judith the almost middle age jazz singer, Gabriel the magician with a limp, and Howie who is very vaudeville. As they set out to tour North Africa, their manager assures them that he will be choosing someone from their group to audition for Bob Hope's Pepsodent Show tour. All of them have good reasons to want the gig with the big names. Will the competition separate them? Or will it bind them together as they experience the ups and downs of tour life? Amy Lynn Green uses Maggie and Catherine as our eyes and ears on the ground in this latest WW II title from her pen. I loved it!

Thank you to Bethany House and NetGelley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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I found this to be a very interesting book. I was not aware of all female bands and the woman who were in them. However this book takes us through the journey of being a female musician on a victory tour. The writing is suberb, and the atmosphere is wonderful. Highly recommended.

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The Foxhole Victory Tour is another winning WWII-era novel by Amy Lynn Green. Green chooses to include an ensemble cast of characters to bring to life the story of USO performers on the frontlines of the war. I had no idea the USO sponsored these types of tours. My impression before reading this book was that they mainly performed way behind the lines at bases. I loved that Green chose to focus on these unsung heroes who brought a bit of respite, laughter, and reprieve from the horrors of war to the active duty servicemen. While there are 5 performers on the tour, plus a tour manager, there are two major POVs — Maggie and Catherine. The two young women from very different backgrounds both have something to prove. Really all the members of the troupe want validation, security, and purpose, and they seek that out on the makeshift stages across northern Africa.

There’s a small bit of romance and some danger in the novel, along with wonderful historical detail. The story and the characters are the strengths of this book, and Green does a great job developing both. The spiritual messages are developed naturally. The characters were all at different points in their faith journeys, which seemed very realistic. Truths were expressed without being preachy.

I really couldn’t put this book down, and was sad as I closed its cover for the final time. A great book, it will appeal to those who love a good story well told.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

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The Foxhole Victory Tour followed the lives of Maggie McCleod, Catherine Duquette and the other members of their troupe as they traveled North Africa with the United Service Organizations, in an effort to bring cheer and entertainment to the Allied soldiers during World War II.

As it's my first time reading about such men and women who volunteered to boost morale during the devastating times, I found this very interesting and eye-opening. There's a lot that happened during the war that they didn't teach us in school, so books such as this that shed light on unsung heroes are very welcome.

Maggie, Catherine, Howie, Judith, and Gabriel all had their reasons for going on the tour. They didn't get along that well at first, but three months in close proximity and shared experiences can do wonders. They experienced the horrors of war, traveled for hours in extreme weather, slept in tents, and were even pitted against each other for a coveted contract with a popular radio show. But it was heartwarming to journey with them and watch them all find their courage, purpose and place in the world, all the while finding a family with each other.

As always whenever I read a historical fiction novel, I am amazed by the amount of research done by the author, and this book is no exception. I felt like I was going through North Africa with the rest of the troupe.

I would like to thank the author, Bethany House Publishers, and Netgalley for a chance to read this book in advance in exchange for my honest opinion.

Read if you like:
🪖 WWII stories
❤️‍🩹 Found family
🫡 Unsung heroes
🕰️ Historical fiction
🕊️ Mild faith elements

Other details:
Dual POV
No intimate scenes, no cussing
CW: war, illness, divorce, gender inequality

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“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.”

Amy Lynn Green is quickly becoming a favorite historical fiction author. The Foxhole Victory Tour really touched my heart. Perhaps, it was because it reminded me of my grandpa who wasn’t able to serve in WWII, but played the trumpet in a band stateside, or the way the author beautifully captured the power of music and humor to lift us even in the most dire of situations. Taking place in 1943, this book shared the moving stories of five brave men and women in the USO as they entertain troops in North Africa under dangerous and difficult circumstances all while competing for the opportunity to tour with Hollywood’s biggest celebrities.

Maggie’s a spunky trumpet player who’s out to prove her worth. She often gets into trouble speaking her mind and is in danger of losing yet another job when she’s offered a position with the USO. Catherine is a debutant violinist who’s constantly having her life micromanaged by her wealthy divorcing parents. Determined to do something all on her own, she joins the USO hoping to find the soldier she fell in love with whose letters suddenly stopped.

The other performers include: Howie, a WWI vet and vaudeville star, Gabriel, a brooding magician, and Julia, a determined singer with two ex-husbands. As they brave the heat of Casablanca, Tunisia, and elsewhere, they form a tight bond that becomes strained over the competition for a chance to tour with Bob Hope. Each grows from their shared experiences with a chance at love for two of them, if they can survive the war.

I absolutely loved these characters and enjoyed learning more about them as the story unfolds. I appreciated the growth they went through especially as they went from tough competitors to bosom friends. I also enjoyed seeing how their personal struggles were put aside as they realized the important role they played in the war effort and supporting the troops. There was one particularly touching moment where they are performing for a group of soldiers who just lost their comrades the day before. I also loved the brief glimpses of faith subtly shared throughout the story especially through Maggie’s struggle with her Salvation Army upbringing and her father’s refusal to accept her brand of music.

This is an absolute must read for WWII historical fiction/romance fans. I look forward to reading even more from this author. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher through AustenProse. All opinions are my own and voluntarily provided.

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What a great story about the USO tour in North Africa during WWII.

Maggie and Catherine were fascinating characters to follow. They played together in a wartime orchestra and Maggie’s dismissal leads to them both being accepted into a USO group.

I enjoyed this look at what it was like to entertain the troops in less than glamorous settings and at times barely tolerable accommodations.

The best part was watching the group assigned together get to know each other and learn each other’s stories while competing for a spot on Bob Hope’s tour. Each person had strong reasons to want to position and even stronger reasons to keep their personal stories secret.

Amy Lynn Green writes wonderful historical fiction and it was a pleasure to read this story.

Thank you to Bethan House via Austen Prose for the copy of this book. All views are my honest opinion.

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I read A LOT of historical fiction (arguably my favorite genre), the majority of which focuses on WWII. That being said, this is the first WWII novel I've read that focused on the USO Camp Shows, of which the Foxhole Circuit was sent overseas to the front lines to entertain the troops in the midst of war.

The novel alternates between the POVs of two of the younger female musicians who join the USO tour: Maggie, a working class preacher's daughter who plays the trumpet and does a comedy routine, and socialite Catherine, a classically-trained violinist. They join a female singer, a young male magician, and an older WWI veteran/ventriloquist on deployment to the North Africa.

This was a very well researched piece of work, and I appreciated the North African campaign setting for this book, as so few WWII historical fiction novels are set in this locale. There the troupe and their tour manager travel around the region, while the main characters grapple with the reality and hardships of war. In the midst of it all, they learn much about themselves, the value of friendship, and their purpose in life. Overall, this was an interesting and uplifting read about a lesser-known aspect of WWII.

Many thanks to Bethany House, the author, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book to read and review in exchange for my honest opinion!

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WWII novel about a troop of USO performers touring Africa to entertain the troops. I loved the character development, and enjoyed learning about what it was like for less-known names during the tours

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Thank you Netgalley and Bethany House for access to this arc.

What a lovely cover for this book and double yay that one of the female performers actually has a green dress that she wears. I’ve grumbled about how so many books about WWII currently being published are mainly about libraries (and I love libraries) so when I read the blurb for “The Foxhole Victory Tour” I immediately wanted to get my hands on it. Just so readers here will know, there is a (very) slight romance thread in it but the story is mainly about friendships, found family, and self discovery.

The book does a great job showing how “the show must go on” under trying and dangerous circumstances. There are also wonderful details about the cities in which the characters found themselves. The religious aspects of the story are handled with a light hand and mainly there to help highlight what Maggie and Catherine discover about themselves. Kudos for including a song important to a Jewish member of the performers.

I liked that each performer had genuine reasons for not only wanting but needing the “big break.” The story mainly focuses on Maggie and Catherine. Maggie finds that doing these shows for the troops fills a need she didn’t know she had. She realizes that even trumpet playing and telling jokes can help the war effort by boosting morale. Catherine has been pampered and sheltered all her life. Overhearing others doubt that she’s got the grit to stick out the touring conditions stiffens her resolve to prove to herself and them that she does as well as finally break free from her parents’ control. When push comes to shove, she reaches deep and makes her own decisions rather than letting others do that.

The little bits of details that round out the other performers are naturally introduced into the story when needed rather than info-dumped early on. Every person has their moments of being thoughtless, unlikeable or just grouchy (the touring conditions really are difficult) but slowly they begin to meld into friends who care for each other and act for each other including something lovely that four of them do for Catherine. As one says, finding people with whom you want to perform with is a gift. On this journey they also discover something greater than themselves. None of them can actually join the fighting but they can and will do this – try and cheer up those who going into harm’s way including the ones doing work behind the lines such as the WAACs (who, because they were women, had to initially prove their worth) and the refugees and political prisoners in labor camps. I really enjoyed this different WWII setting and watching the characters bond and become like family. B+

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Bob Hope comes to mind when I hear USO camps. He was known as the “one-man morale machine.” Bob Hope and the other entertainers felt it was important to build a relationship with the soldiers fighting in this vicious war. I was unaware that there were other camp performers and/or camp productions that did not feature well-known movie stars. This story is focused on the unknowns.

Two female musicians from the wartime orchestra narrate the tale. Maggie McCleod is intense and speaks her mind. She decides to relaunch her career by enlisting in the USO. In her brief career, she has burned a few bridges and hopes to find herself through the tour.

Then there is Catherine Duquette, who abandons a life of luxury and fortune to enlist in the USO camp. She is trying to locate a charming pilot who doesn't appear to be writing to her anymore. Was he still living? She was hoping to find out.

While Bob Hope and his fellow entertainers made it seem easy, I had no idea the struggles and danger each artist went through to make the soldiers smile. This captivating, intriguing behind-the-scenes look at the challenges, risks, and painstaking efforts taken to make the show work is eye opening. I had no idea the depth and danger all the entertainers went through to bring joy to the troops.

Don't miss this story of unknown performers competing for a spot in Bob Hopes show, who face the risks, difficulties, and perils they endured to fulfill their contract to entertain the soldiers, Each performer goes on a unique journey to find their place in the war and so much more.

This would be a great book club pick, its also an intriguing read. Mark your calendars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I requested and received a copy of this book by the publisher. And NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog https://psalm516.blogspot.com/

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I have read a lot of books about WWII but Green has a way of shedding light on a different, unique storyline in the war. It was fun reading about this group of ordinary people trying to make a difference by performing in the USO. I enjoyed Maggie’s humor and how she poked and prodded Gabriel to loosen up. It was interesting seeing how the soldiers responded to the shows. I liked how the people, who were so very different from each other, came together….even somewhat jaded Judith.

The journeys the characters were on brought out tidbits of beautiful truth here and there. One of my favorites was this: “We sing to God, of course, but we also sing to each other. When we’ve almost forgotten what we believe, the words of the songs remind us” (location 3587). So true and it will make me appreciate worship at church tomorrow even more.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’d highly recommend it. Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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I was not familiar with this author and the topic of USO entertainment groups was something I didn’t know much about. After reading this book, I do know more but not to the extent I had hoped for. Ms. Green, in her notes, writes that she ran across the most unbelievable stories in her research and including these would have added to the authenticity of the book (not to speak of the excitement.) The entertainment group consists of six members and a manager. We get to know two of them, the others stay more or less on the sidelines. This is a World War II story that plays in Northern Africa. As a reader, I would have liked to learn more about the culture and the people of Northern Africa. Maybe this lack of detail had to do with the entertainment group not being allowed to get to know the locals? I found the explanation of Vichy France changing sides unusual. Weren’t they a collaborationist regime and wasn’t Marshal Pétain, the leader (along with a few others) convicted after WWII? The one thing that stood out for me were the labor camps in Northern Africa. I did not know about those. Overall, the story kind of ambles along with very few exciting episodes. It is basically about a group of people who learn to live and work together, which was also affected by their exposure to the war. The way women were viewed at that time and what they were up against was a good point. The book didn’t grab my attention until at least ¾ into the story where it finally goes a little deeper. It took me an unusually long time to read because there was nothing that urged me on. The lessons learned are sound (especially towards the end), the author is an excellent writer, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s not an unpleasant read and many readers might enjoy this book.

Many thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy. I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Another win for Amy Lynn Green! Just lovely historical fiction!! Wonderful characters, great story, and interesting history. I really love the way Amy Lynn writes. I definitely recommend this book!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance e-copy of this book! All opinions are entirely my own.

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There's something glamorous about USO tours. The women entertaining our men serving in WWII. The way they went anywhere and endured all sorts of hardships and dangers. Amy Green has brought that vividly to life in this wonderful ensemble cast story. I thoroughly enjoyed each page and found myself sneaking away to read one more page whenever I could. It's a wonderful step back in time with characters who are richly layered and complex. I enjoyed it immensely.

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The Foxhole Victory Tour takes us on a journey through the non-celebrity entertainment offered for the enlisted troops during WWII and provides two fascinating heroines as a focal point for that trip.

Trumpet player Maggie McCleod has never met a rule she didn’t want to break. Her latest bit of bother has found her unemployed yet again, fired from the Swinging Sweethearts, a wartime orchestra in the style of Glenn Miller but made up of pretty young women. It had been Maggie’s dream job, but her free spirit, coupled with her big mouth, ensured that this latest escapade into the working world ended in failure, too. Maggie is, therefore, deeply surprised when a man approaches her in the lobby after her last performance, offering her a position with the USO. She doesn’t even have to think about it and signs up on the spot. She is equally surprised when co-worker Catherine Duquette, the beautiful chief violinist and star of the Sweethearts, overhears the conversation and asks to join as well. The two have never been friends - Catherine is by-the-book perfection, whereas Maggie is a funny, scrappy mess - but maybe that will change on the tour.

Eh, maybe not. Catherine didn’t sign on in a burst of camaraderie or patriotic fervor. Her wealthy, influential parents' contentious divorce has placed her in an impossible situation between them, with her mother wanting her to join the Philharmonic and her father wanting her to settle down and marry the man he plans to have run his company. Catherine wants to earn her place in a prestigious orchestra, not have her mother’s contacts give it to her, and she is in love with a handsome pilot who went to fight in North Africa and hasn’t written since. Maybe this tour will give her the chance to find out what has happened and why he’s not writing. It will at least give her a respite from the emotional war her parents have dragged her into.

Eh, maybe not. The strangers who join Maggie and Catherine on the tour are acrimonious. Judith, the blues singer, is determined to be the star. Howie the tap-dancer, a widower, is aging out of the business and struggling with concerns about what to do next. Gabriel, the handsome, surly magician, has a chip on his shoulder and is none too fond of Maggie’s brash ways. The situation is worsened when they learn Bob Hope is looking to their manager for a recommendation for his own tour. Only one of them can have the coveted position, and each of them is determined to be that person.

Adding to the stress is the fact that life on the road isn’t pretty. Their unit visits soldiers who are combat adjacent - the USO isn’t being sent to the front lines, but they are being sent to the bases and places where the men are either on their way to active battle or just returning from it. Bathing has to be done with river water out of a helmet. Their transports break down on the regular, and the accommodations can be pretty uncomfortable. But the work they do matters, and the soldiers they perform for are beyond grateful for it. Will their little troupe come together as friends, becoming comrades in arms as they serve their country? Or will they remain fighting for the top position, unable to recognize the importance of unity in the face of war?

I think we all know the answers to those questions. As they travel from England to Tunisia and struggle through bombings and crash landings, this disparate group slowly learns each other’s stories. And what they learn helps them to realize that everyone has depth and value. Maggie and Gabriel initially have an especially hard time with this as they spar almost constantly. It takes a while to break through the surface tension and realize they each have a reason for what they do.

The story is told from both Catherine's and Maggie’s viewpoints. This works really well since the rich, sheltered Catherine and the street-wise, bold Maggie truly experience the exact same things differently. Maggie knows how to take care of herself, she knows what she wants from life, and she knows, essentially, her own worth. What she doesn’t know is how to get on with people - she always seems to rub those in authority the wrong way - nor how best to serve God. Her family are all in the Salvation Army, but Maggie doesn’t feel called to that. She wants to bring glory to God through her music and life but hasn’t been shown how that can be done outside of full-time ministry.

Gabriel is another conundrum for Maggie. He seems to single her out, wanting to be in her company one moment, picking a fight (or so it seems to her) the next. He flat-out tells her he is not interested in love or marriage, but everyone else on the tour is convinced he’s courting her. It seems her first taste of romance is proving as disastrous as her work history.

Catherine loves music, but her family can’t understand that. Her mother sees it only as a means to an end - climbing as high as she can via her career and social status. Her father sees it as an impediment to what she should be doing - marrying the man of his choice. Her naïveté has her struggling to circumnavigate the real world without their help. A good example of this is her love affair with a brash pilot whom Maggie swears isn’t what he claims to be. The tour has been a good training ground for Catherine to learn how to live life on her own terms, but it just might prove a disaster for her romantic dreams.

This novel is published by Bethany House, which raises expectations of a strong Christian theology in the narrative, but the author handles this portion of her story with an extremely light hand. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a high level of religiosity and 1 being zero mention of God, I would rank the story a 4. Maggie would appear to be the only devout Christian in the troupe, and her struggle, as mentioned above, is how best to serve Him. The author handles this arc very well and I enjoyed watching Maggie grow in her faith.

There is a romance here, but the focus of The Foxhole Victory Tour is finding your place in the world and the people you are meant to share it with. I appreciated the author showing us the seriousness of war while still focusing on the light within those tumultuous shadows. In fact, the book’s only flaw is that everything works out perfectly for everyone. That said, I found the novel a quick, enjoyable read with a fascinating look at the history of the USO and how it worked. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction.

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