“The Wartime Sisters” by Lynda Cohen Loigman – Book Review

Firstly, the sisters:

Ruth Blum – Married to Arthur, an MIT graduate who works overseeing arms assembly, Ruth now lives on the Springfield Armory campus, in a house for officer’s wives. She is the mother to twin girls. All her life Ruth has felt to be something of an outsider. Ever since her younger sister Millie was born, Ruth has fallen into the shadow of Millie. Her beauty and popularity seemed to outshine Ruth who was more plain, the studious one, the responsible one.  No where was this more evident that in the eyes of their parents.

Ruth holds a devastating secret…Millie Fein – Married to Lenny, a handsome wastrel, who can’t hold down a job and owes money to some unsavory people. When Lenny left her and their two-year-old son destitute, Millie moved from Brooklyn to Springfield to live with her estranged sister.

She gets a job in the armory ‘shops’, where she assembles triggers for the Army M1 Garand rifles. (Think Rosie the Riveter) Millie befriends the Italian cook at the cafeteria, a much needed ally, since her sister Ruth barely acknowledges her existence.

She also becomes friends with the Commanding Officer’s wife, Lillian.

Meanwhile, Millie is also keeping a secret…

Lillian Walsh – the wife of the Commanding Officer and mother to four children. Lillian has overcome a traumatic childhood to become a respected, organized, and empathetic woman.

Grace Peabody – An attractive woman who is an unpleasant, mean-spirited gossip. One of the officer’s wives, she is married to a man who has a wandering eye and drinks to excess.

A quote from the afterword of the book:
“By June of 1943, somewhere between 11,300 – 11,800 people worked at the Springfield Armory, and of that number, 43 percent were women.”

It is always so gratifying to read a historical novel that has been meticulously researched. The rewards are two-fold. You get to read a compelling story AND you learn something in the process. I learned not only about the history of the Springfield Armory during WWII, but I also learned a bit about Jewish traditions and the Jewish way of life.

The sisters in this story were very ‘human’ with all the flaws that the word represents. The story was well-paced and incorporated the history in an entertaining way.

The Springfield Armory was like a city within a city. It had a strong sense of community, with its inhabitants working toward a common goal.

How discrepancies in the way children are treated by their parents has such a profound affect on their adult personalities – and how it shapes their adult lives –  is the primary focus of the narrative.

Family secrets, sibling dynamics, and an interesting peek behind the scenes of life stateside during WWII, this story held me spellbound throughout.

Anyone who enjoys women’s fiction with a strong historical base will be sure to delight in “The Wartime Sisters”.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan Publishers  via NetGalley.      

ISBN: 9781250140715 –  ASIN: B07D2BVXCK –  336 pages

Lynda Cohen Loigman

Lynda Cohen Loigman

Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, MA. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. She is now a student of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and lives with her husband and two children in Chappaqua, NY. The Wartime Sisters” is her second novel following her debut “The Two-Family House”.

Follow Lynda Cohen Loigman on Twitter.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Historical fiction, NetGalley, war stories, Women's fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to “The Wartime Sisters” by Lynda Cohen Loigman – Book Review

  1. Pingback: #BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘W’ #GreatReads #ReadingForPleasure | Fictionophile

  2. gayebooklady says:

    Lynne, such another great read! I was definitely in the mood for this story…..the pages flew by!
    Thanks for the great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carla says:

    One of the reasons I like historical fiction is that I learn something as well as develop empathy for those who went through so much. I really like the sounds of this one and after reading The Two Family House last year, I know I like her writing. Wonderful review Lynne.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Christine says:

    This book along with The Nightingale and The Two Family House kicked off my love for historical fiction! Great review, Lynne!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gayebooklady says:

    Lynne, one of my many favorite books is The Two Family House! I had no idea Lynda Cohen Loigman had released another book. Would you believe there was one copy of The Wartime Sisters at Chapters and I have added it to my TBR list!! Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, this does sound interesting. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Xstitchbee says:

    Oh I love books where you learn something about a period of time, place etc. Books set in World War 2 also tick the box, Will definitely be adding this to my TBR list – thanks for the review 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ll keep it on my TBR! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Carol says:

    This is a compelling story! I really enjoyed the strong friendship theme and women supporting women!

    Liked by 1 person

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