May, marked officially as Military Appreciation Month, is a special month for both those in and out of the military. Americans are reminded of the important role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in the history and development of our country.
Not only do we pause on Memorial Day to remember the sacrifice and service of those who gave all, but the month also holds several other military anniversaries and events, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Armed Forces day.
Countless are the stories of courage, resilience, and sacrifice made by so many brave Americans in service to our country. We offer a 12-book salute in commemoration, and encourage readers and book clubs to visit and revisit some of the places and pieces of history recounted, honored, and remembered through the stories of these NovelNetwork authors.
The Long March Home by Tosca Lee and Marcus Brotherton
Jimmy Propfield joined the army for two reasons: to get out of Mobile, Alabama, with his best friends Hank and Billy and to forget his high school sweetheart, Claire.
Life in the Philippines seems like paradise–until the morning of December 8, 1941, when news comes from Manila: Imperial Japan has bombed Pearl Harbor. Within hours, the teenage friends are plunged into war as enemy warplanes attack Luzon, beginning a battle for control of the Pacific Theater that will culminate with a last stand on the Bataan Peninsula and end with the largest surrender of American troops in history.
What follows will become known as one of the worst atrocities in modern warfare: the Bataan Death March. With no hope of rescue, the three friends vow to make it back home together. But the ordeal is only the beginning of their nearly four-year fight to survive.
Inspired by true stories, The Long March Home is a gripping coming-of-age tale of friendship, sacrifice, and the power of unrelenting hope.
The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar
Shining a light on a little-known piece of history The Flight Girls is a sweeping portrayal of women’s fearlessness, love, and the power of friendship to make us soar.
1941. Audrey Coltrane has always wanted to fly. It’s why she implored her father to teach her at the little airfield back home in Texas. It’s why she signed up to train military pilots in Hawaii when the war in Europe began. And it’s why she insists she is not interested in any dream-derailing romantic involvements, even with the disarming Lieutenant James Hart, who fast becomes a friend as treasured as the women she flies with. Then one fateful day, she gets caught in the air over Pearl Harbor just as the bombs begin to fall, and suddenly, nowhere feels safe.
To make everything she’s lost count for something, Audrey joins the Women Airforce Service Pilots program. The bonds she forms with her fellow pilots reignite a spark of hope in the face war, and—when James goes missing in action—give Audrey the strength to cross the front lines and fight not only for her country, but for the love she holds so dear.
The Able Archers by Brian J. Morra
Imagine if there were a series of events that nearly caused an intercontinental nuclear war…and all of it was kept secret for decades.
In 1983, the world stands at the brink of nuclear annihilation, and only a few people are aware of it. A riveting story of how two men’s lives intersect in the midst of an existential crisis, The Able Archers is told through the eyes of two key participants: a young American intelligence officer, Captain Kevin Cattani; and his more experienced Soviet counterpart, Colonel Ivan Levchenko.The story plays out from the skies over Siberia to the gritty, dangerous streets of East Berlin. The radically different worldviews of Cattani and Levchenko punctuate the deep divisions of the Cold War. The evolving relationship between the two men also highlights the humanity common to both sides. Only by working together will Cattani and Levchenko find a way to prevent a global nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
A gripping and compelling dual timeline novel about three women who joined the Navy during WWI to become yeomanettes and the impact their choices have on one of their descendants in 1968.
1918 – America is at war with Germany, and, for the first time in history, the US Navy has allowed women to join up alongside the men. Ten thousand of them rush to do their part. German-American Marjory Kunwald enlists in the Navy to prove her patriotism. Suffragette Blanche Lawrence to prove that women are the equal of men. And shy preacher’s daughter Viv Weston in a desperate attempt to hide from the police.
Even as the US military pours into France and the war heats up, the three yeomanettes find friendship and sisterhood within the Navy. But all their plans for the future are thrown into chaos when Viv’s dark past finally catches up with her.
1968 – Newly divorced and reeling from a personal tragedy, Peggy Whitby unexpectedly inherits her estranged great-aunt Blanche’s beach cottage outside Norfolk Virginia. But her fragile peace is rattled when she begins to receive mysterious postcards dated from 1918 when Blanche served as a Navy yeomanette.
Curious to learn more about her mysterious aunt and uncover the truth behind the cryptic messages, Peggy is drawn deeper into the lives of the three young Navy girls. But her digging uncovers more than she bargains for, and, as past and present collide, Peggy must decide if finding out about her aunt is worth the risk of losing herself.
The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman
A brilliant female codebreaker. An “unbreakable” Japanese naval code. A pilot on a top-secret mission that could change the course of WWII. The Codebreaker’s Secret is a dazzling story of love and intrigue set during America’s darkest hour.
1943. As war in the Pacific rages on, Isabel Cooper and her codebreaker colleagues huddle in “the dungeon” at Station HYPO in Pearl Harbor, deciphering secrets plucked from the airwaves in a race to bring down the enemy. Isabel has only one wish: to avenge her brother’s death. But she soon finds life has other plans when she meets his best friend, a hotshot pilot with secrets of his own.
1965. Fledgling journalist Lu Freitas comes home to Hawai’i to cover the grand opening of the glamorous Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Rockefeller’s newest and grandest project. When a high-profile guest goes missing, Lu forms an unlikely alliance with an intimidating veteran photographer to unravel the mystery. The two make a shocking discovery that stirs up memories and uncovers an explosive secret from the war days. A secret that only a codebreaker can crack.
The War Nurse by Tracey Enerson Wood
Based on a true story, The War Nurse is a sweeping historical novel by USA Today bestselling author Tracey Enerson Wood that takes readers on an unforgettable journey through WWI France.
She asked dozens of young women to lay their lives on the line during the Great War. Can she protect them?
Superintendent of Nurses Julia Stimson must recruit sixty-four nurses to relieve the battle-worn British, months before American troops are ready to be deployed. She knows that the young nurses serving near the front lines will face a challenging situation, but nothing could have prepared her for the chaos that awaits when they arrive at British Base Hospital 12 in Rouen, France. The primitive conditions, a convoluted, ineffective system, and horrific battle wounds are enough to discourage the most hardened nurses, and Julia can do nothing but lead by example―even as the military doctors undermine her authority and make her question her very place in the hospital tent.
When trainloads of soldiers stricken by a mysterious respiratory illness arrive one after the other, overwhelming the hospital’s limited resources, and threatening the health of her staff, Julia faces an unthinkable choice―to step outside the bounds of her profession and risk the career she has fought so hard for, or to watch the people she cares for most die in her arms.
Angels of the Pacific by Elise Hooper
Their survival would depend on sisterhood and service.
Inspired by the extraordinary true stories of World War II’s American Army nurses famously known as the Angels of Bataan and the unsung contributions of Filipinas of the resistance, this novel transports us to a remarkable era of hope, bravery, perseverance, and ultimately—victory.
The Philippines, 1941: Tess Abbott, an American Army nurse, has fled the hardships of the Great Depression at home for the glamour and adventure of Manila, one of the most desirable postings in the world. But everything changes when the Japanese Imperial Army invades with lightning speed and devastating results. Tess and her band of nurses serve on the front lines until they are captured as prisoners of war and held behind the high stone walls of Manila’s Santo Tomas Internment Camp.
When the Japanese occupation of her beloved homeland commences, Flor Dalisay, a Filipina university student, will be drawn into the underground network of resistance, discovering within herself reserves of courage, resilience, and leadership she never knew she possessed.
As the war continues, Tess and Flor face danger, deprivation, and terror, leading them into a web of danger as they unexpectedly work together to save lives and win their freedom.
My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton–a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. In this haunting, moving, and beautifully written novel, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before–not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal–but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.
A general’s daughter…Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.
A Founding Father’s wife…But the union they create–in their marriage and the new nation–is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all–including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.
The last surviving light of the Revolution…When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle–to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…
Stars Over Clear Lake by Loretta Ellsworth
Mesmerizing and romantic, Stars Over Clear Lake transports readers to the Surf Ballroom, where musical acts became legends in the 1940s and which holds the key to one woman’s deepest secret.
Lorraine Kindred’s most cherished memories are of the Surf Ballroom, the place where youth lost themselves to the brassy sounds and magnetic energy of the big band swing, where boys spent their last nights before shipping off to war―and where Lorraine herself was swept away by a star-crossed romance.
Returning to the ballroom for the first time in decades, Lorraine enters a dazzling world she thought long vanished. But as the sparkling past comes to life, so does the fateful encounter that forced her to choose between her heart and her duty all those years ago―and Lorraine must face the secret she’s buried ever since. Along the way, she’ll rediscover herself, her passion, and her capacity for resilience.
Set during the 1940s and the present and inspired by a real-life ballroom, Loretta Ellsworth’s Stars Over Clear Lake is a moving story of forbidden love, lost love, everlasting love―and self love.
When We Had Wings by Kristina McMorris, Susan Meissner, and Ariel Lawhon
From three bestselling authors comes an interwoven tale about a trio of World War II nurses stationed in the South Pacific who wage their own battle for freedom and survival.
The Philippines, 1941. When U.S. Navy nurse Eleanor Lindstrom, U.S. Army nurse Penny Franklin, and Filipina nurse Lita Capel forge a friendship at the Army Navy Club in Manila, they believe they’re living a paradise assignment. All three are seeking a way to escape their pasts, but soon the beauty and promise of their surroundings give way to the heavy mantle of war.
Caught in the crosshairs of a fight between the U.S. military and the Imperial Japanese Army for control of the Philippine Islands, the nurses are forced to serve under combat conditions and, ultimately, endure captivity as the first female prisoners of the Second World War. As their resiliency is tested in the face of squalid living arrangements, food shortages, and the enemy’s blatant disregard for the articles of the Geneva Convention, the women strive to keep their hope— and their fellow inmates—alive, though not without great cost.
In this sweeping story based on the true experiences of nurses dubbed “the Angels of Bataan,” three women shift in and out of each other’s lives through the darkest days of the war, buoyed by their unwavering friendship and distant dreams of liberation.
Orchid Blooming by Carol Van Den Hende
A childhood tragedy followed her into adult life. Will she ever claim real happiness again?
Kind and generous, twenty-seven-year-old Orchid Paige will never forget that day. Living as best she can after witnessing her parents’ fatal accident, the beauty industry marketer yearns to win a promotion to China to connect to her mom’s ancestry. But with competition fierce, she despairs she’ll never make the grade… until she meets an encouraging man who makes her feel safe despite her usual distrust.
After Orchid convinces the handsome entrepreneur to let her gain experience at his nonprofit project, she’s determined to keep their relationship professional and ignore their powerful attraction. But when working on his military ad campaign for veterans triggers her own unresolved PTSD, she fears her confident mentor may be too good to be true even if she could trust him with her heart.
Can she conquer her vulnerabilities before she loses her chance at forever?
Life Hacks for Military Spouses by Tracey Enerson Wood, Allison Wood, and Kristen Riffle
A colorful collection of tips and tricks for getting the most out of the nomadic military lifestyle. Told through humorous anecdotes by those with years of unique experiences, these life hacks reveal a special culture with expectations and numerous obstacles to be faced along the way.
Military life boasts of travel to exotic places, immersion in the worldly cultures, and cuisine that most Americans can only dream about . . . and on the government’s dime, to boot!
At least, that’s what the common perception is. But those who have served know that while the above may be true, military life comes with its own set of challenges and can be a hardship as much as it is rewarding.
Here to help is the advice, guidance, and personal stories of spouses from all walks of life, in stages from the newlywed to the retired and properly salty. They share tips on overcoming the numerous obstacles, and navigating the special culture, traditions, and the one-of-a-kind lingo of military service.
Gathered mostly from those who are affiliated with the military, but also from those with similar diplomatic lifestyles, the anecdotes reveal the special bond they share with their fellow spouses, and the wisdom gained to pass to the next generation.
The very special illustrations were created by a talented Air Force wife, and reflect both the strong beauty and earnestness of those who are engaged in our nation’s most serious business, and yet, have learned not to take themselves too seriously.