When We Had Wings
A Story of the Angels of Bataan
by Ariel Lawhon; Kristina McMorris; Susan Meissner
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Pub Date 18 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2023
From three bestselling authors comes an interwoven tale about a trio of World War II nurses stationed in the South Pacific who wage their own battle for freedom and survival.
The Philippines, 1941. When U.S. Navy nurse Eleanor Lindstrom, U.S. Army nurse Penny Franklin, and Filipina nurse Lita Capel forge a friendship at the Army Navy Club in Manila, they believe they’re living a paradise assignment. All three are seeking a way to escape their pasts, but soon the beauty and promise of their surroundings give way to the heavy mantle of war.
Caught in the crosshairs of a fight between the U.S. military and the Imperial Japanese Army for control of the Philippine Islands, the nurses are forced to serve under combat conditions and, ultimately, endure captivity as the first female prisoners of the Second World War. As their resiliency is tested in the face of squalid living arrangements, food shortages, and the enemy's blatant disregard for the articles of the Geneva Convention, the women strive to keep their hope— and their fellow inmates—alive, though not without great cost.
In this sweeping story based on the true experiences of nurses dubbed "the Angels of Bataan," three women shift in and out of each other's lives through the darkest days of the war, buoyed by their unwavering friendship and distant dreams of liberation.
"A novel rich in historical detail that immerses readers in the dangers and deprivation WWII nurses suffered in the Pacific, wrapped up with a hopeful ending." -Booklist
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 251 members
Based on a true story When We Had Wings is a historical tale of nurses and the danger and deception they face during the war.
One of my favorite genres of books is historical fiction. And when it is set during WWII, it is a big draw for me. This amazing story, while about WWII, focused on a different aspect than those I’ve typically read. This book was set in the Pacific conflict ... specifically the Philippines. It also dealt with the little known story of the military nurses who served during this time. Words cannot describe the horrors they endured and the evil they witnessed. However, the friendships that developed were cherished and helped them face another day. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the dedication the women displayed in such difficult circumstances, the strength of character, and their determination to survive. This is definitely one to put on your to-be-read list. It is heart wrenching but has you cheering them on hoping they will survive and be rescued.
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Muse for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
For more reviews, please visit my blog at: https://www.msladybugsbookreviews.com/. Over 1000 reviews posted!
I loved learning about the first female POWs in World War II, since I knew nothing about this part of history. I found the different perspectives initially a little hard to keep track of in ebook form, so I'm glad I shifted to reading a physical book because this one was so good. As a sensitive reader, I thought it touched on so many difficult parts of war and the weight of the evil and suffering, without showing too much. I deeply appreciated these characters and the very real people they represented. This was a sobering, beautiful, brave story that I'm so grateful to have read.
This is the story I was desperate to read but was afraid to ask for. I’ve always been a big fan of WWII historical fiction and have wanted one set in the Philippines but because I have so much knowledge about what happened, I was afraid to get attached to characters and read about their suffering. This was such a well-written, all engrossing story that drew me in and made me feel everything I didn’t want to but I am grateful for the experience. It paints a horrifying picture of what happened in the Philippines during the war, what my grandparents lived through, and it broke my heart. The story itself moves slowly, which gives ample introduction to the area and the characters, and lays the groundwork for the atrocities (although worse happened, it is not detailed) inflicted on the enemies of the Japanese. I loved this book for the stories that it told and the history it portrays. Highly recommended!