Sisters In Arms was another one of my Book of the Month picks. I was immediately drawn to the idea of learning more about the Six Triple Eight. I honestly had never heard of them before or if I had the information was very brief. So I began this book with an open mind and an optimistic spirit.
The Six Triple Eight was the only all Black battalion in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II. Sisters In Arms is a fictional account of the events that led to the development of this branch of service. It tells the story of two women from different backgrounds who join the unit determined to make a difference. It tells about the racism and sexism which was occurring daily, the mental and emotional struggles that they experienced, and the journey that these women went on as both service women and as friends.
When Eliza and Grace first meet, they do not see eye to eye at all. Eliza comes from a very privileged background especially for a Black woman at the time. Her parents own the local Black newspaper and although she wants to be a serious reporter, no one will take her seriously. She decides to join the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps as a way to prove everyone wrong. On the other side, Grace does not come from privilege but instead from parents who have had to work hard to give her the life she wants. She is musically talented and is supposed to go to a prestigious music school but, has a terrible audition. She decides to join the WAAC instead of facing her mother and disappointing her. These two characters meet when they are both signing up and immediately butt heads. So, of course they wind up in the same living quarters and going through some of the same experiences together.
Sisters In Arms tackles several real life issues which were experienced by the women in the 6888th battalion. On a daily basis, these women were looked down upon for both their race and their sex. They continuously deal with difficult officers, regiments, and duties as part of the postal directory. Plus, they are also missing their homes and family members. I thought Kaia Alderson did a really great job of providing context for the experiences which these women went through. I felt like I was there with them in some ways. I felt their excitement, their anger, their fear, and their frustration. I also learned so much more about the 6888th battalion. I wish this was something that was more talked about in schools!
Overall, Sisters In Arms is a wonderful piece of historical fiction. I wanted to cheer for Grace, Eliza, and the other women in the battalion by the end. Their story is fierce filled with both heartwarming and heartbreaking moments in time. I recommend to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, strong women, and/or books that keep you invested until the very end!
Rating: 4.5 Stars