Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date: Jan. 22, 2019
I didn’t become a history buff until I became a book reviewer. Actually, although I am a baby boomer, I did not know much about WWII, other than the basics that one learns in school and from the movies. Now I am hooked on the genre. However, I was not the targeted audience for this novel. That is probably, because “The Wartime Sisters” is really a women’s fiction tale that is marketed as a historical fiction. I find that often women’s fiction can be a bit sappy, usually sad, and often with unrealistic happy endings. I am not always critical of the genre. If it is well blended with other genres, I can enjoy good women’s fiction read. For example, I very much enjoyed “The Light Between Oceans,” which is historical women’s fiction. “Oceans” author manages to write a believable heart-breaking drama about fate, love, and moral dilemmas. However, I do not feel that this book accomplishes such a blending, even if it does have moral dilemmas. Also, there is no history in this historical fiction other than the location simply takes place at the famous Springfield, Massachusetts, Armory during WWII.
What you will read about in “Wartime” is the lives of the four main female protagonists. Two estranged Jewish sisters, one busy on the assembly line that produces guns and the other with office duties. The armory’s Italian Catholic cook is really a singer, and the Captain’s privileged wife (guessing her character is White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), who is unofficially in charge of the female workers. All these women are hurting due to their own painful secrets. Then there is another character, a villainous officer’s wife who despises all four and tries to bring them down. In the end, the four band-up together to unselfishly save each other (told you, women’s fiction.) Expect one-sided characters. There is no wondering who is the good guy or gal in this case. To be fair, the reader will get a decent representation of the women who chipped in and sacrificed to help the war efforts. Still, one picture of Rosie the Riveter does it better. I do not think the book is marketed correctly for its own best interest in regard to sales. There may be a larger audience for traditional women’s fiction than historical (just look at the success of the Lifetime TV Channel.) Though this book is not for me, I can think of many friends that would gobble it right up.
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