The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar review is here. This historical novel centers around Audrey Coltrane before, amid, and after World War II. Audrey is a young woman from Dallas, Texas, with a dream of buying her own airstrip. It starts off in Oahu, Hawaii where Audrey works at the Wheeler Army Airfield with three other young women: Ruby, Catherine, and Jean. They train new pilots in the army, although they aren’t apart of the military. They love to fly and enjoy the daily life in the bright sunny weather of Hawaii. Audrey is focused on escaping her mother’s wishes of settling down with a man and starting a family. She wants her freedom and, above all, to stay single. That is until the handsome Lieutenant James Hart makes her stomach flip.
They both commit to just being friends. Yet secretly, Audrey thinks of James as more than a friend. However, her worries of wondering if a man can make her settle down go out the window when Pearl Harbor gets bombed by the Japanese. Audrey is midflight training a new flyer, Hurst, when it happens with James below her flying with a larger group. They safely make it to land, but nothing prepares Audrey for who and what she loses during the attack.
With James off to fight in a deadly war, Audrey returns home to heal and escape the nightmare she saw. No one is the same after that, especially Audrey, but flying is who and what she is and chooses not to give it up. Her path takes Audrey to Sweetwater, where a program was created for women to deliver aircrafts to bases across the USA. Training is anything but easy, yet Audrey soon forms a friendship with Carol Ann. She also catches the eye of Officer Carter Wilson. A young, wounded instructor that makes it no secret he wants Audrey. With him around her every day and James off fighting in a war and hardly answering her letters…will Audrey choose to abandon her dreams and the one guy who stole her heart?
As much as Audrey doesn’t want to answer that question for herself, she must. With graduation of the program on the horizon and the decision of the Hudson Airspace she’s desperately wanted to own since was little, Audrey makes a decision. It’s what tosses her on her next journey and brings forth deep heartache. The toles of war aren’t just for the soldiers on the frontlines. Everyone alive during this time is suffering, and the war is seen on everyone’s young and old. But is there a silver lining? That’s a question you’ll have to find out when you read this novel.
I will say I LOVED this book. It was fun, heartbreaking, and made you believe in love. Yes, there were faults when it came to the historical part. The hairstyles didn’t fit the time era, and the mention of television was another thing some of my readers have complained about. I, personally, didn’t notice the problems because I don’t regularly read historical novels. For me, I focused on the story and loved how Noelle Salazar brought her characters to life, pulling the reader into their thoughts and feelings. She makes you feel like you are there with the characters with all her vibrant descriptions.
It was so gut-wrenching everything people faced during that time. But above all, she allowed her characters, mainly Audrey, to never entirely give up hope. It’s something people seemed to do during that time, and Noelle conveyed that beautifully. Overall, I recommend reading The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar. It’s a great novel that you’ll keep thinking about even when you finish. The story of Audrey and James, along with all the brave women is truly inspiring.