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