This month in BookTrib, we are celebrating women’s fiction titles that showcase women in the military or whose lives have been affected by the military. Several books feature women who support the military in other ways such as being partners of active-duty military personnel and filling myriad non-active-duty military support roles. A number of these stories are focused on service to one’s country — tales of resilience, dedication, and valor, where the strength of women is at the forefront.
ON THE HOME FRONT by Barb Warner Deane
(The Wild Rose Press, August 2017)
The year is 1941. As WWII begins, life in rural upstate New York will never be the same for three women as they send their husbands, brothers, and friends off to war. Ruth, a young wife and teacher, Lilly, her teen-aged sister-in-law, and Helen, a British war bride, each step up, taking on new roles, filling in for the men who have left.
They learn to cope with rationing, change, fear, loss, and brutality while they forge an impenetrable bond and grow to be stronger than they ever dreamed possible. But will Helen’s in-laws ever accept her and allow her into their lives? Can Ruth survive her loss while retaining any hope for the future? Can naive, young Lily go on after facing an attack that shakes her faith in people, in love, and in life itself? They lean on each other for support, but when Ruth decides to go to the front lines as part of the American Red Cross Clubmobile program, can the sisters-of-her-heart cope with her absence and risk even more loss?
SEA GLASS SUMMER by Miranda Liasson
(Hachette, Forever, June 2022)
Kit Blakemore is ready to live again. After her husband died while serving in the military, she was in a haze of grief. Now she wants to reclaim her former self—finish her degree and find a better career to provide for their sweet little boy, Oliver. To do that, she’ll need to sell her late husband’s dilapidated Victorian in Seashell Harbor. But first, Kit intends to give Ollie the kind of unforgettable seaside summer she had growing up, making lifelong memories and friendships.
Of course, nothing goes exactly as she planned. Ollie is struggling with his confidence, and frankly, so is Kit. But everything changes when her husband’s best friend, Alex de la Cruz, returns to town, offering to help her renovate. She doesn’t expect Alex to temporarily move in…or for him to bond with Ollie…or for her numb heart to begin thawing. Slowly he’s helping Kit and Ollie heal, and it scares her to death.
Kit swore she wouldn’t leave herself open to the pain of loss again. But if she’s going to teach her son to be brave and move forward, Kit must first face her own fears.
EVEN WHEN YOU LIE by Michelle Cruz
(Crooked Lane Books, March 2023)
Reagan Reyes hunts other people’s secrets. A former military intelligence officer, she’s currently the in-house investigator for pricey criminal defense attorney, Cade McCarrick…and she’s his lover, despite the law firm’s rules forbidding romantic relationships between partners and staff. But their love—including their agreement never to lie to each other—is the only authenticity they have in a world of subterfuge and betrayal.
That agreement is pushed to its limits when a mysterious woman leaves an envelope for Cade and is soon discovered dead. While the envelope’s contents aren’t related to any of Cade’s current cases, Reagan uncovers a connection to a recent murder outside a Deep Ellum nightclub—and an even more ominous link to the dead woman.
The police don’t seem to care about either death, but they hit too close to home for Reagan to ignore. As she digs deeper into Dallas’s sordid underbelly, she’s completely on her own except for Cade—and there’s a killer bent on eliminating them both at any cost.
AMAZING GRACIE by Laura Drake
(Gramarye Media, Sept 2023)
CJ has returned from war. But she has not left the war behind. She feels responsible for the death of her three best friends and is determined to take the cross-country motorcycle trip they’d planned to do together.
The one bright spot in her life is her nine-year-old sister, Amazing Gracie, or Mazey, as CJ knows her. Mazey is brilliant, curious, and innocent, but she’s carrying burdens of her own, including a deep desire to meet the father she’s never known.
When CJ heads off on the motorcycle trip to visit the homes of her fallen friends, Mazey somehow convinces CJ to let her tag along. It isn’t the journey CJ expected, but it is the journey she needs. Contending with her demons, confronting her past, and facing her future, CJ comes to terms with choices she couldn’t have anticipated. And when Mazey’s quest takes a surprising turn, both CJ and Mazey discover that this road trip has been headed to an undisclosed destination all along.
THE ROOF ABOVE by Gail Dwyer
(Black Rose Writing, February 2024)
2003. The War on Terror rocks the world, but Kelly McGowan dreams only of the exciting adventures ahead with her fiancé Matt, a new Army lieutenant from West Point.
When Matt deploys to Iraq, reality hits. Kelly, coping with her loneliness, questions if their love will endure. Matt returns from war aloof and sullen, forcing Kelly to deal with her emotions— and a secret from his past that could destroy their future. She seeks solace at her aunt’s beach house, only to be walloped by a catastrophic hurricane.
The Roof Above is the story of a young woman’s journey through war, storms, and secrets to find her tribe and the love she deserves. The author retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves is married to a retired soldier, and is the mother of two active-duty soldiers.