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Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson
Historical fiction

Sisters in Arms

Debut
Early Release

by Kaia Alderson

Quick take

Grace and Eliza are fire and ice. But when called to serve their country, they forge an unlikely bond and prove heroes.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist

    Feminist

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Underdog

    Underdog

Why I love it

Denny S. Bryce
Author, Wild Women and the Blues

Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson is her debut historical novel based on actual events surrounding the formation and challenges of the only all-Black female battalion to serve in Europe during World War II. This book puts a long-overdue spotlight on the women of the U.S. Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC)—or Six Triple Eight, as they were called—who had to deal with racism, broken promises, and so much more, and I fell in love with each of these fabulous women from page one of Alderson's story.

Sisters in Arms begins with enlistment day in New York City and takes us on a journey from Fort Des Moines, Iowa, to England, France, and back home to New York by closely following two women from very different backgrounds, Grace and Eliza. The different reasons that caused them to enlist, how they dealt with prejudice while serving their country, and how the bond between them developed and then threatened to tear them apart make this such a moving and complex tale.

This is a big story with wonderfully written Black women soldiers who are complicated, heroic, smart, sassy, flawed, and wise. It's the kind of historical fiction I love. The characters are authentic, the story heartfelt. And imagine, these women hung onto their patriotism despite the people and the government that didn't support them. Inspirational, you bet. In her debut, Alderson delivers a must-read you won't forget.

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Synopsis

Grace Steele and Eliza Jones may be from completely different backgrounds, but when it comes to the army, specifically the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), they are both starting from the same level. Not only will they be among the first class of female officers the army has even seen, they are also the first Black women allowed to serve.

As these courageous women help to form the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, they are dealing with more than just army bureaucracy—everyone is determined to see this experiment fail. For two northern women, learning to navigate their way through the segregated army may be tougher than boot camp. Grace and Eliza know that there is no room for error; they must be more perfect than everyone else.

When they finally make it overseas, to England and then France, Grace and Eliza will at last be able to do their parts for the country they love, whatever the risk to themselves.

Based on the true story of the 6888th Postal Battalion (the Six Triple Eight), Sisters in Arms explores the untold story of what life was like for the only all-Black, female U.S. battalion to be deployed overseas during World War II.

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of Sisters in Arms.

Member thoughts

All (3714)
All (3714)
Love (1409)
Like (1940)
Dislike (365)
3754 ratings
  • 38% Love
  • 52% Like
  • 10% Dislike
  • Pensacola, FL

    I am a current female military officer and I love WWII history, so this book was right up my alley. I am so grateful for Kaia’s writing and bringing this important work to print. FUTURE MOVIE PLEASE!

  • Lombard, IL

    Based on a true story -Two women finding their own ways and crossing paths during WW2. Each encounter their own challenges and triumphs, and end up changing one another's world with fierce comradery.

  • PORT ORANGE, FL

    A hidden side of history that deserves to be seen, brought to life by two women with more gumption than most men I know today! Loved watching Grace and Eliza break down barriers graceFULLY to the end.

  • Portland, OR

    I love love love historical fiction and this book transported me to a time, place, & set of events I know very little about. YES! The characters were so strong, & the real-life aspects were incredible

  • Lexington, IL

    Kaia Alderson told a story of 2 women who were part of the first Black women allowed to serve in the Army during WW11. It is a part of history I was not aware of and it is an important story to tell.

  • Hagerstown, MD

    Such a great book. I started the book not knowing how I felt about Grace or Eliza. As the story went on they became much more relatable and likable. A great aspect of history that is often ignored.

  • Portsmouth , VA

    This book grabbed me from the opening of the novel. It is beautifully done, and very in tone with the time being described. It doesn’t focus on just feeling good and gives a brilliant depiction.

  • Fort Worth, TX

    I would definitely recommend this book as an educational read for middle schoolers and up. The historical background and creative writing makes it a pleasurable read. Full review bit.ly/PageBedtime

  • Greenville, NC

    A different take on a WWII historical fiction. Amazing story of the 6888th squadron. Eliza and Grace’s story of being officers in an all black female regiment was quite the read. Enjoyable book.

  • Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

    Main characters-two different personalities, both facing hardships presented by society in a time past. Hopefully struggles shown in this narrative can be eased by more justice & understanding.

  • Lexington Park, MD

    I did not love this until about the last 70 pages. This is a slow burn that took me a bit to get into. The ending however was so sweet and well thought out, it made up for the rest! Good read.

  • Concord, CA

    I loved this. This is a great story, loved all the history and all the details she included. The characters and all their bravery in a time when all odds were against them is very inspiring.

  • San Jose, CA

    I loved reading about the black women's corps during World War II. It was an inspiring novel, taking true events and weaving it into this heartwarming story. I definitely recommend this book!

  • Herriman, UT

    It’s refreshing to read a WWII historical novel that doesn’t revolve around the atrocities of the war, rather the progress and trailblazing by strong women that occurred throughout it.

  • Dunkirk, MD

    I thought the book was thought provoking. I knew the history of how blacks were treated during both WW's. I didn't know a black female officer had told a general off. Hats off to her.

  • Houston, TX

    I fell so in love with Grace & Eliza’s friendship as they encounter the military life, relationships, and other life situations, but in the end, they had and will still have each other.

  • Bethel Park, PA

    This book was amazing and taught me about a subject of which I knew nothing about. I was thoroughly engrossed in this story of strong and resourceful women of color. I highly recommend!

  • Lisbon, CT

    A good foray into historical fiction, and a great way to learn about a side of history that you never knew about. A little more YA than I thought it’d be, it’s a quick, easy read.

  • Woburn, MA

    Don’t judge a book by it’s cover! This book was excellent, even if the cover art looks like a movie poster from the 90s. Great characters and interesting, unknown, true history.

  • Chula Vista, CA

    This book was SO good! Great characters and a really fascinating storyline. I really enjoyed this book and love it even more because it was based on factual events. It was perfect.

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