Sisters in Arms

Sisters in Arms explores the history of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps’ 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, called the “Six Triple Eight.” The 6888th had 855 women, amongst whom were three Latinas. They were among the first Black women allowed to serve in the US Army during World War II.

This historical follows Grace Steele and Eliza Jones, from their recruitment in New York City to their mission in Europe. As part of the 6888th, their task is to tackle a substantial backlog of mail.

The novel not only addresses the challenges of wartime but also the harsh realities of segregation and prejudice. Despite its historical significance, my journey through this novel left me conflicted.

While Grace and Eliza are fictional, Alderson weaves in real-life characters, adding an authentic touch to the story. The depictions of boot camp and a U-boat chase are exciting highlights.

While the historical backdrop is interesting, the execution of the novel leaves much to be desired. The dialogue needed more work and was occasionally punctuated by contemporary phrases that seemed out of place in the 1940s setting. The constant arguing between the main characters became annoying, taking away from their potential depth.

Alderson’s writing style fell short of my expectations. The language was too explanatory and repetitive, with occasional problems with sentence structure. The overall tone felt more akin to young adult fiction.

In the end, despite the novel’s attempt to illuminate a lesser-known chapter of history, I could only muster a 2-star rating. I struggled to finish a book that should have been right up my alley.

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy of the book. The opinions are my own.

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