Summary of The Women by Kristin Hannah + Our Review

If you are looking for a quick, spoiler-free overview and review of The Women by Kristin Hannah, you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve already read the book, and you’re instead interested in a more in-depth look at the novel’s characters, discussion questions, quotes from the book, or other resources to help you host a book club meeting, we can help with that, too! We’ve even compiled a playlist of the songs mentioned throughout the book.

The Women Book Summary

Frances “Frankie” McGrath is a 21-year-old nursing student raised by her conservative parents to always do “the right thing.” Growing up near a naval base on Coronado Island, Frankie has heard many stories of her family’s long history of military service. When her brother, Finley, ships out for Vietnam in 1965, Frankie impulsively joins the Army Nurses Corps and follows him into war.

As a nurse tending to the green and inexperienced young men who have been sent into battle, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction. She learns to rely on a new circle of close friends to help her get by day after day. Her experiences in Vietnam, as well as the news from home, begin to change her views of right and wrong. Despite the challenges of war, returning to America doesn’t prove to be any easier.

While The Women is the story of Frankie going to war, it also shines a light on the story of all women who risk everything to help others. The publisher’s description describes this book as “a novel of searing insight and lyrical beauty” that is “profoundly emotional” and “richly drawn.”

The Women Book Review

While we expected great things from The Women after Kristin Hannah’s other highly-rated historical fiction, she still managed to exceed our expectations. Like her other recent works, The Women humanizes a tragedy that we all need to know about – both to honor those who experienced it and to help prevent history from recurring.

Through the story of Frankie’s family, we see the devastation of those who lost their sons, brothers, and other loved ones in Vietnam. But we also get a glimpse of what it was like on the ground in a war that was very complicated and blurred lines. We see how the country treated these soldiers and nurses differently, even though they were doing their sworn duty for the country, just like those before them.

We see how they began to understand that everything wasn’t as it seemed. And we see the incomprehensible cost of war for both sides.  We both rated this five stars for helping us better understand something that happened less than a generation before we were born, and doing it in a way that made us feel deeply for the characters along the way. 

The Women was a five-star read for both Angela & Melissa, and it’s already proving extremely popular with our readers. In the early weeks after its publication, The Women already has over 60,000 ratings on Goodreads, with an average rating of 4.73. 

If you would like a printable version of this list of quotes from The Women, it is included in our downloadable, custom book club kit. The kit also includes a set of printable bookmarks featuring three of our favorite quotes from the novel.


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