Author: Diane Hanks
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Nov. 7, 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Sourcebooks Landmark
Book Rating: 9/10
Annie Fox will stop at nothing to serve her country. But what happens when her country fails her? In November 1941, Annie Fox, an Army nurse, is transferred to Hickam Field, an air force base in Honolulu. The others on her transport plane are thrilled to work in paradise, but Annie sees her new duty station as the Army’s way of holding the door open to her retirement. But serving her country is her calling and she will go wherever she is told. On December 7, Annie’s on her way to work when the first Japanese Zero fighter plane flies low over Hickam’s Parade Ground.
The death and destruction that follow leave her no time to process what’s happening. She rallies her nurses, and they work to save as many lives as they can. But soon their small hospital is overwhelmed. Annie drives into Honolulu to gather supplies, nurses, and several women who will donate blood. However, the nurses are Japanese Americans, and the blood donors are prostitutes.
Under Annie’s leadership and working together in unexpected ways, they make it through that horrific day, when one of the Japanese American nurses and Annie’s friend, Kay, is arrested as a suspected subversive. As Hickam tries to recover, Annie works to find her friend and return Kay to her family. But Annie’s love for her country is put to the test. How can she reconcile the American bravery and resilience she saw on December 7 with the prejudice and injustice she witnesses just a few months later?
Poignant, informative, and incredibly absorbing!
The Woman with a Purple Heart is an intriguing tale that sweeps you away to the shores of Oahu and immerses you into the life of seasoned U.S. Army Nurse Corps Lieutenant Annie Fox as her knowledge, heart, strength, compassion and skills are all tested to the max when the Japanese unexpectedly rage war on Hickam Field and Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.
The prose is eloquent and vivid. The characters are complex, resilient, genuine, and endearing. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel subtly into a captivating tale of life, loss, family, heartbreak, secrets, betrayal, friendship, courage, determination, self-discovery, forced incarceration, racial prejudice, and the devastating consequences of war.
Overall, The Woman with a Purple Heart is an atmospheric, evocative, beautifully written novel by Hanks about a remarkable woman that grabs you from the very first page and does an exceptional job of blending historical facts with fiction that’s both moving and wonderfully captivating.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.