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The Beantown Girls Kindle Edition
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An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.
A novel of love, courage, and danger unfolds as World War II’s brightest heroines—the best of friends—take on the front lines.
1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.
Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.
Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.
“The Beantown Girls tells the little-known story of the women who volunteered to be Red Cross ‘Clubmobile Girls,’ serving on the front lines of World War Two as they provided soldiers with coffee, doughnuts, and the comfort of home. Fiona, Dottie, and Viv hardly know what to expect once their training begins, but they will be pushed to their limits as they discover courage they didn't know they had and the importance of friendship.” —POPSUGAR
“The Beantown Girls offers a glimpse of the ‘Greatest Generation’ and the sacrifices of war from a female perspective, and once again brings to light their breathtaking courage, compassion, and sacrifice during one of the most volatile times in our history.” —Northshore Magazine
“Healey relied on diaries, letters, and other records left by real-life Clubmobile Service girls to create this straightforward tale serving a slice of WWII history.” —Booklist
“While the characters are fictional, Healey meticulously researched these women and based much of the book on historical events and information gathered from primary sources, thus giving the reader the fullest sense of what these women accomplished.” —Historical Novel Society
“This was a heartbreaking book that will grab you and won't let go until that last page is read.” —Lone Tree Reviews
“Equally heartbreaking and heartwarming, this meticulously researched book about the fascinating Red Cross Clubmobile program charmed me from page one. I fell in love with the characters and how Healey brought this important piece of WWII history to life. The Beantown Girls is must-read historical fiction about love, hope, friendship, and the resilience of the human spirit.” —Susie Orman Schnall, award-winning author of The Subway Girls
“A fantastic story of friendship, love, and bravery. Historical fiction at its finest, inviting the reader into little-known parts of our past and bringing it to bloom with characters we love right away.” —Camille Di Maio, bestselling author of The Memory of Us
“If you yearn for a sweeping, romantic, and altogether wonderful novel, look no further. If you like your novels filled with character, detail, and life, here is your next big read. If you want to see World War II from an entirely new perspective, settle in with The Beantown Girls, a brave group of young American[s]…who head for Europe in 1944. As they live and grow through one of the pivotal years in human history, you will grow to love them.” —William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Cape Cod and Bound for Gold
“Brilliantly written, The Beantown Girls captured me from the first page. The dangers of war mingle beautifully with the wide-eyed innocence of three young women who find themselves in extraordinary and sometimes harrowing circumstances. History is honored in this vital look at WWII told from a female perspective. This is an important book not to be missed!” —Heather Burch, Amazon bestselling author of In the Light of the Garden
“In The Beantown Girls, Jane Healey delivers a novel that whisks us to the final harrowing months of World War II in Europe, and brings it painfully, beautifully, heartbreakingly alive. Through the eyes of Fiona Denning, a Red Cross Clubmobile worker, and her colleagues, we witness firsthand not only acts of jaw-dropping courage and sacrifice, but also the romantic bonds that grow even during the horrors of war. Healey’s superb research lets us see the decimated cities, smell the doughnuts and coffee handed out at great risk on the front lines, and hear the big band music—as well as the approach of the next bomb. I loved this novel!” —Joy Jordan-Lake, bestselling author of A Tangled Mercy
“From the beginning of this inspiring novel, the reader is swept into a riveting story that combines the realities of WWII with the bond of true friendship and dedication to the highest cause, told from the little-known perspective of Red Cross Clubmobile Girls. Jane Healey’s extensive research and fine storytelling skills offer a page-turner that goes straight to the heart. Historical fiction at its best!” —Patricia Sands, author of the bestselling Love in Provence series
“A fascinating novel about a little-known wartime sacrifice, The Beantown Girls is lovingly crafted, heartbreaking, and illuminated with hope. I couldn’t put it down!” —Ellen Marie Wiseman, author of The Life She Was Given
“Jane Healey’s wonderful new work of historical fiction, The Beantown Girls, provides a fresh and heartwarming perspective on American participation in Europe during the closing years of World War II. The story follows a group of courageous young women who volunteer to serve coffee, donuts, and emotional support to Allied soldiers on the front lines. Jane masterfully captures the era with its style, music, fashion, and dialogue, and the reader is instantly whisked back to the 1940s. The engaging personalities of these girls in their Red Cross Clubmobiles are sure to captivate the reader. It’s like Band of Brothers in Red Cross uniforms.” —Ron Balson, internationally bestselling author of Once We Were Brothers
“The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey tells the story of the brave women who served as Red Cross Clubmobile girls during World War II, offering comfort and a slice of home to our soldiers. A story of friendship and courage, The Beantown Girls will delight fans of historical fiction and women’s fiction alike.” —Brenda Janowitz, author of The Dinner Party
About the Author
Jane Healey left a career in high tech to become a freelance writer. Her passion for historical fiction became her new career when her debut novel, The Saturday Evening Girls Club, was published in 2017. Based on the true story of a group of Jewish and Italian immigrant women in Boston’s North End at the turn of the twentieth century, the Amazon bestseller was hailed by Redbook as “a breathtaking ode to female empowerment and the American dream.”
With the release of The Beantown Girls, she continues to fulfill her dream of writing about lesser-known stories of women in American history.
She shares a home north of Boston with her husband, two daughters, and two cats, and when she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, running, cooking, and going to the beach.
For more information about the author or to schedule a book club visit, please go to www.janehealey.com.
- ASIN : B07FTBNVGK
- Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (February 5, 2019)
- Publication date : February 5, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 2551 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 361 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #9,263 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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Can anyone who lived through WW 2 personally vouch for the use “Jesus” as a curse in 1942? I don’t think people were that vulgar yet, or maybe just in Boston? And from women, too. It speaks volumes that none of the five-star reviewers cared about it at all.
A Kindle word search found this offensiveness 16 times. Sixteen. Book is gone.
The basic setup: Three friends from Boston go to Europe as Red Cross Clubmobile girls. They have adventures.
Or a little longer: Fiona's fiancee has gone missing, with his plane shot down in Europe. Frustrated that she cannot DO anything other than worry, she decides to join up to do something to help. One of the few options for an attractive college-educated young woman is to volunteer on what today we'd call traveling RVs, where the Clubmobile Girls distribute coffee, donuts, cigarettes, gum, and especially morale to soldiers. Fiona convinces her best friends, Viv and Dottie, to come along -- and so we readers vicariously learn about their training (the donut machines were horrible, with buckets of boiling lard), friendship and romances (look at all those handsome soldiers!), and struggles for respect and competence (not the least of which is learning to drive). And, of course, there is the ever-present worry about what happened to Fiona's fiancee, as well as the horrors of war.
It's all a good premise, and Healey captures much of the experiences these women endured. (It helps, she adds in the appendix, that many of them wrote long letters home.) Some scenes in particular are excruciatingly eloquent, such as when a soldier sees children playing in a field that hasn't yet been swept for mines and runs over to shoo them away from danger... and moments later, there's nothing left of him but a half-eaten donut.
I found myself willing to believe in -- and care about -- the characters. I certainly wanted all of them to be happy, and it didn't bother me too much that some of their situations were predictable.
Yet I found myself cussing at the novel, for a few reasons. One is that the characters never sound like they're in the 1940s. Someone "channels her grief into her work," which is not an expression I heard from my parents' friends (all of whom were touched by WWII); and another character "reaches out to" someone else. Maybe those expressions WERE used, but it threw me out of the story.
That wasn't the only irritation. Okay, I can accept that some women might go into this gig with the idea that it's her job to always be decorative and smile at the troops. But you're going into a war zone, Viv; did you really imagine that you could accomplish that while keeping your nail polish perfect? Yes, she changes, but I found it hard to believe someone would be that naive in expectations.
But THOSE ARE QUIBBLES. I cared about the characters' fates. I learned about the Red Cross Clubmobiles, about which I previously knew nothing. The story engaged me enough that I went out of my way to manufacture Reading Time. So while I won't insist you buy this novel, I won't talk you out of it, either.
Top reviews from other countries
I laughed, cried, and fell in love with these beautiful characters- Fiona, Dottie, and Viv.
I was so immersed in this heartbreaking and heartwarming story, that I couldn’t put the book down.
Pick this book up; you won’t regret it.
I already find myself wanting to read it all over again.
When I read the synopsis and the reviews, I had hopes of a good, interesting story but it's actually quite boring and the characters are stereotypical... I'm sorry, I don't even know why I'm still trying.