Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date of publication: January 22nd, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.
I wasn’t sure about reading The Wartime Sisters when I got approached to review it. I am not a fan of historical fiction. I have been burnt by too many books that were dry and uninteresting to read. I was afraid that this was going to be the case with The Wartime Sisters. And I almost turned it down. But something about the blurb caught my attention. With that, I decided to accept the request.
The Wartime Sisters is the story of Ruth and Millie. Ruth and Millie have been estranged since their parents were killed in an automobile accident. Before the accident, Ruth resented Millie. Ruth blamed Millie for stealing her boyfriends, for being popular and for being the apple of their parents eye. Millie, however, doesn’t understand why Ruth is so cold and distant to her. When Millie’s husband dies overseas, she writes to Ruth, asking for help. Ruth agrees to let Millie and her son live with them. When Millie arrives in Springfield, she finds that Ruth hasn’t changed. Ruth grows more bitter the longer Millie stays with them. But Ruth and Millie have secrets. Secrets that could destroy their relationship if they came to light. Can Ruth get over the past to help Millie in the present? Or will she allow past resentments color what she thinks of Millie? Can Millie trust Ruth enough to tell her about her secret?
I didn’t like Ruth one bit. I didn’t like how she treated Millie. I thought it was disgusting that she held on to old resentments. She was afraid that Millie was going to one-up her. I wanted to shake her and say “Get over it!!“. What she did the night of her parents funeral was awful. The author did try to change her character by having her confront Grace Peabody. It didn’t matter. I didn’t like her.
I liked Millie and I felt bad for her. I liked how the author wrote her side of the story. I understood why she left out parts of her story when she moved in with Ruth. I do think that she was unfairly judged by people. They saw how good-looking she was and thought she wasn’t that bright. Which was far from the truth. She was also stronger than most of the women in this book.
I liked Lillian. But I didn’t understand why she was getting her own chapters until later in the book. She was an amazing woman. She had been through so much in her life and she still looked on the brighter side of things. She didn’t dwell on things she couldn’t change. What she did for Millie was nothing short of amazing.
Aria was brought in later in the book. Again, I didn’t understand why she was getting her own chapters but I soon realized why about the same time I understood why Lillian did. She brought an outside perspective to Ruth and Millie’s relationship. She was the only person in the book who dared to call Ruth out on her treatment of Millie. She also was the only one who stood up to Grace and her husband when things were going down. Aria was a true friend to Millie.
I liked how the author wrote Millie’s secret into the book. I also liked what she did to get rid of it. That was also a turning point in Ruth and Millie’s relationship.
I loathed Grace Peabody. She was a nasty woman who got everything that she deserved. I do wish that her husband got the same treatment.
I did like that I got a better understanding of what a woman did to support her soldier/country during World War II. I thought it was fascinating what Millie did. I also liked the location. Having grown up in the NE part of MA, I love it when any part is represented in a book. Double kudos if it is in a positive light.
The end of the book was sweet. I liked that Millie and Ruth were moving towards a better relationship. The author did a great job at ending all the storylines. I had a question about the Aria/Fitz one. Other than that, perfect!!
What I liked about The Wartime Sisters:
- The storyline
- How Millie’s secret was written in and out of the book
What I disliked about The Wartime Sisters:
- Grace Peabody
- Aria/Fitz relationship left up in the air
I gave The Wartime Sisters a 4-star rating. I liked the storyline and Mille. I also liked how Millie’s secret was written in and out of the story. It was Ruth who killed the book for me. She was miserable the entire book.
I would give The Wartime Sisters an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is no language. There is some mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread The Wartime Sisters. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.
I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Wartime Sisters.
All opinions expressed in this review of The Wartime Sisters are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**