A Woman’s Place by Lynn Austin
(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “Virginia Mitchell watched her husband carve the Sunday pot roast and wondered if he was having an affair. He showed more interest in the way the meat was cooked than he did in her. But maybe it was better if she didn’t know for certain. This way she wouldn’t be forced to decide whether to live with the knowledge in silence, forgive him, or leave him. She found it difficult enough to decide what to fix for dinner, let alone wrestle with questions of infidelity and trust….Virginia’s insecurity regarding her marriage casts a pall over her future. But with the devastating news of America’s entrance into WWII. Ginny feels called to make a difference. As she embarks on this journey, she’ll meet three other women–and in the process, change her world.”)
I liked this book a lot. I found it so interesting to learn about these four (and later on, a fifth) women and their lives. I liked how their lives intertwined, and how they forged friendships and also how they forged a way for women into the workplace during the WWII era. I liked each of the characters, and felt as if I could walk into their world and fit right in. It did take me awhile to get them straight, and remember who was who, but by the end they felt like my friends. I liked how each of them dealt with her own trials, and yet they all faced many of the same trials together. They helped each other, and came to rely on each other. The men in the book made me furious. I did like Earl. Ginny’s husband drove me crazy! And the men workers at the factory were awful. I found it difficult to believe that some of those problems existed in the 1940’s. I knew women worked during WWII because I have seen the Rosie the Riveter poster:
but I’d never thought about how that made the men feel, or what those women did once the war was over. I enjoyed this book and recommend it.
The writing style is hard to get used to at the beginning, but becomes easier by the end. It is a little slow in some parts, but it was engaging enough to keep me reading. There are some scenes in the book that are difficult to read because of the way the people were treated. There is some harsh racial violence (beatings, and a terrible “accident”) and you learn of characters dying in the war. There is some language. One of the characters has a habit of drinking and getting drunk. There is a little bit of a Christian message in the book because a couple of the characters discuss God and His influence in their lives.
Rating: PG-13+ (Racial beatings, a so-called “accident,” characters dying in the war, sparse language, drinking, and Ginny wondering about an affair.)
Recommendation: High School and Up. I took a Women’s History class in high school, and this would have been a great read for that class. It is fiction, but it’s great to see a different viewpoint of WWII.