Review: Sisters in Arms
SISTERS IN ARMS - Kaia Alderson
William Morrow
July 2021
Historical Fiction
REVIEWER: Brenda Larnell | RATING: A+
REVIEW:  SISTERS IN ARMS is a standout African American Historical Fiction account of the Six Triple Eight, an all-Black battalion of the Women’s Army Corp of World War II. I have learned so much about the “hidden  figures” and forgotten institutions of Black history by reading Historical Romance and Fiction. SISTERS IN ARMS is a beautifully written story that brings to light an extraordinary group of women who served the country, in spite of discriminatory practices, during a period of war. Two heroines from different backgrounds, Grace Steele, an accomplished musician, and Eliza Jones, a talented journalist are highlighted.

What prompts a pianist, good enough to audition at Juilliard School of Music, and a degreed journalist who is employed at her family’s newspaper to voluntarily join the U.S. Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps? That is one of the intriguing plot points that talented author, Kaia Alderson, explores in this engaging story. Another one is the treatment of Blacks in general and Black women in particular in the Jim Crow era of the 1940s. Last, but not least is the family dynamic that influenced both Grace and Eliza. The author does a brilliant job of shining the light on the trials, triumphs and tribulations experienced by these Black women who served in the Armed Forces during war time, and how they successfully tackled the overwhelming task they were assigned. Being the only all-Negro WAC unit in Europe during WWII, left them open to unscrupulous “inspections” from white high-ranking officials. One of my favorite scenes is how they out-witted a general who was ego-tripping. Genius! A riveting scene involves Eliza, a uniformed officer, when she is confronted by a bigoted white man in Kentucky. It literally gave me chills. I also like how the author resolves the friction that exists between Grace and Eliza, two strong willed women.

The minor characters play important roles that support and add intrigue to the development of the major characters. Although Grace and Eliza are about the business of doing their assigned jobs, their male counterpoints, Dr. Noah Robert’s, an Army officer and Jonathan Philips, an Assistant Civilian Aide to the U.S. Secretary of War are great matches for the ladies. The influential Mary McLeod Bethune also plays a key role as a side character.
SISTERS IN ARMS is packed with memorable characters who keep the story flowing smoothly. The HEA is a wonderful testament to the end of World War II, and the beginning of a new day filled with promise for the heroines.

I highly recommend
SISTERS IN ARMS for your reading pleasure. Beside the educational factor, the insightful storyline of two ‘badass’ Black women setting out to forge their own paths in a world that looked at them as less than human, is a powerful read. Pick up a copy. You can thank me later.

9th August 2021 |