Girls on the Line by Aimie K. Runyan (Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction)
Good historical fiction informs as well as entertains. Girls on the Line does a great job of both as it takes us into the lives of young women who served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I.
While books about World War II abound, not a lot of present-day fiction is set during the Great War. As the author notes, modern-day Europeans are much more aware of the first world war than Americans are. But 100 years ago, Americans — both men and women — were deployed to Europe to fight “the Hun.” Among those individuals were female switchboard operators who volunteered to serve on the front lines connecting the troops with their commanding officers via telephone.
Runyan has done a lot of research, including reading the diaries of women who served in the signal corps. Her story is rich with details as well as nicely developed characters whose fates we become invested in. We see independent young women struggle with the misogyny and paternalism of the era, including the arranged marriages common among high-society families, and we witness the deplorable lack of recognition for the heroism of the “Hello Girls” as the operators were called, when the war ends.
This reviewer received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an independent review.
Girls on the Line will be released on November 6, 2018, and is available for pre-order.