The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey Review is here! This book follows Fiona Denning and her friends—Dottie and Viv. Fiona had her entire life planned out: work for the Mayor of Boston, marry her fiancé Danny, and move to suburbs to raise their family. All that changed when Danny goes missing in WWII, leaving the world of grief-stricken Fi shattered.
The not knowing what happened to Danny and if he might still be alive is what keeps Fiona from healing entirely. She, therefore, decides to volunteer for the Club mobile Red Cross girls alongside her best friends Dottie and Viv. They get accepted and shipped off to London, where they must first pass more training and then off to the bases. Fi’s hope is their group, assigned to the Cheyenne, will get assigned to the frontlines because more than anything, Fiona wants to find Danny.
However, that goal seems more out of reach the longer they are around the war. Not only do they witness tragedy, but the girls’ can’t seem to shine in front of their boss Miss Chambers. Dottie can sing and play guitar like a professional, but she is scared to perform. Meanwhile, Viv ‘Princess’ doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. Fi is organized, but the nerves get the better of her, and she cracks under pressure.
On top of all that, the girls find unexpected love and heartache—Viv is attracted to the handsome Harry Westwood, but will she give her heart, and will he be worthy of accepting it? Meanwhile, Dottie finds Joe attractive, but with his heart tied to another. Will either of them act on their desire. As for Fi, all she wants is to find Danny, but when a famous boxer, Peter, comes into her line of vision, she’ll have to ask herself, can you be in love with two people at once?
It’s a fast-paced novel filled with adventure, love, heartache, tragedy, and hope. The girls must not only learn to work together. They must learn to stand on their own two feet and find their strength. In the war, weakness means death. A day in a war is like living a thousand days outside of it. Will they seize every opportunity to be happy, and if they do, will they embrace it? The most pressing question is if Fiona will find her fiancé or will she be too late.
This novel is based on the actual Red Cross girls and stories from their diaries during that time. While these characters are fiction, events that occur did actually happen. I found that most intriguing when I read the historical notes in this novel. What I really enjoyed was how fresh this storyline is throughout the book. I’ve read many historical fiction novels. However, this is the first I’ve read featuring the Club mobile girls and found their stories inspiring. How many coffee and donuts they handed out, inspiring the soldiers was amazing.
This is more proof of how strong women were during WWII and how fearless they learned to be. It is a truly inspiring story that I won’t soon forget. The details were breathtaking from the songs they played to Glenn Miller’s secret concert—it all was perfect. I highly recommend reading this novel if you haven’t already. It is a story you haven’t read before and one that will stay with you even after your done reading!