Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin

book cover

A Woman's Place
by Lynn Austin

ISBN-13: 9780764228902
Trade Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: November 2006

Source: Bought at a library book sale.

Book Description from Back Cover:
They watched their sons, their brothers, and their husbands enlist to fight a growing menace across the seas. And when their nation asked, they answered the call as well.

Virginia longs to find a purpose beyond others' expectations. Helen is driven by a loneliness money can't fulfill. Rosa is desperate to flee her in-laws' rules. Jean hopes to prove herself in a man's world.

Under the storm clouds of destruction that threaten America during the early 1940s, this unlikely gathering of women will experience life in sometimes starling new ways as their beliefs are challenged and they struggle toward a new understanding of what love and sacrifice truly mean.

My Review:
A Woman's Place is a Christian historical fiction set in December 1941 through October 1944. It follows four women from very different backgrounds who start work in a war factory to help with the WWII war effort.

The characters were varied and had realistic struggles. The book was a quick read, and the suspense was created mainly by relationship tensions and concern about those serving in the war. Vivid details about the time period and setting were woven into the story. However, at times, I felt like the author was trying to cover too many of the issues relating to the time period. This was especially true at the end, which was wrapped up so quickly that issues involving important secondary characters were left hanging.

There were several characters with a strong Christian faith, one who never learned about God before now, and one who rejected God because He let her loved ones die due to illness, accident, and war. There were ongoing themes about forgiveness and trusting God. There were also scenes of Rosa asking funny questions about God because she knew so little and of Jean trying to teach her what God's grace means.

There was no explicit sex. There was a minor amount of "fake" bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable historical to those interested in learning about the struggles faced by women in America in the early 1940s.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
September 1942
* Virginia *

Ginny's morning began with the same old routine: fixing breakfast for Harold and the boys, packing their lunchboxes, retrieving all the things they'd lost or misplaced, reminding them to wear their jackets and to tie their shoelaces. But today she watched herself perform these tasks as if detached from it all, almost as if observing from a distance. And what she noticed was that everyone took her for granted. They never seemed to notice her, only her mistakes--and they always noticed those.

"I don't want this egg," Allan said, pushing it away. "I like the yellow part hard, not all runny."

"This coffee is too weak," Harold said as he dumped it down the drain. "I'll grab a cup at the office."

"You put oleo on my toast," Herbie complained. "I wanted jelly." She made him a new slice of toast with jelly, but later, when she tried to wipe jam off his face, he squirmed away.

"Stop smothering them," Harold said. "They aren't babies anymore."

Ginny watched as each one grabbed things and hurried out the door. The family dog lay sprawled on the kitchen floor, but everyone stepped around him or over him, ignoring him as if he were part of the furniture. Poor Rex. They'd loved him as a puppy, but now nobody even saw him. If he ran away from home, how many days or weeks would go by before anyone even noticed? Was it the same for her? No, her family would certainly notice if there weren't any meals on the table.

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Katy F. said...

I really liked this book--I've only read one other book by Lynn Austin so far (Though Waters Roar) and I liked this one more. I liked all of the different themes and levels of faith in the story, and the historical backdrop was great too. :)

Genre Reviewer said...

Katy F.,

Thanks for taking the time to comment on what you thought of this book. Some time ago, I read Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings series and liked them, so I thought I'd give this one a try. And I'd glad I did.