The Girls of Pearl Harbor
by Soraya M. Lane
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Number of pages: 347
Source: Net Galley ARC
Read 8/23/19 to 8/26/19
When Grace, April, and Poppy join the US Army Nurse Corps, they see it as little more than an adventure, one made all the better by their first station: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Joined at the hip, idealistic Grace, exuberant Poppy, and brave but haunted April frolic in the sun, attending parties, flirting with the handsome soldiers, and becoming fast friends with seasoned nurse Eva. Like the Hawaiian sun, their future seems warm and bright—until the infamous morning of December 7.
Within just a few horrifying hours, their sparkling hopes turn to black rubble and ash. Now embroiled in a war they never could have imagined, they must decide what truly matters to them and face grief as they never have before. Death may await them—but so do hope and purpose. In the midst of the carnage, can they find happiness and learn to fight not just for their country’s honor but for themselves?
This is the second historical fiction book I’ve read by this author and I really enjoy how she writes such strong and independent women. The three women this story centers around all have their ups and downs, their moments of weakness and their times of strength. Through it all they are determined to make their mark on the world and help others.
I wasn’t sure if Grace was going to win me over because I had issues with her in the beginning. Rest assured, she does redeem herself. But in the first half of this story Grace was very egocentric. Every time I would start to like her and think she wasn’t as spoiled as I was making her out to be, she would do or say something to her sister that would make my blood boil. By the end Grace will not only redeem herself, but will even earn my respect.
Eva has the biggest climb out of despair after the Pearl Harbor attack, and she seems to take the longest. Through everything she has to come to terms with she is still such a nurturer. There are some things that have to do with Eva’s thought process in the beginning that I had issues with. I kept reminding myself that it was a different time and most women had far fewer options than what we have today. If some of the things Eva fears start to rile you I’ll tell you the same thing about her as I said about Grace, by the end you won’t really think of those earlier problems.
Now April I liked from the start. She could be a bit uptight and strict, but when you get to know her you realize that she came by those personality traits honestly. In other words, you can’t hold those things against her. Plus, they tend to serve her and the other women well. April is the strongest of them all and the most forward thinking, but she still feels the need to conform to the ideals of the time. She slowly starts to gain more confidence. There is something that happens with her that most readers will pick up on pretty early on but that she is oblivious to…once all of those issues come to light she will come through even stronger.
There are love stories throughout this book, but it’s truly about the strength of these women and how they support one another through many hard times. Don’t worry if you’re here for the love, there’s plenty of chemistry and sweet moments. There is heartbreak and things that will make your heart soar. I like that these women find love, but that you know they’ll be okay even if they don’t.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**