There's something so special about finding an author you absolutely love, which is exactly what I've found in Noelle Salazar. Her historical fiction novels are some of my personal favorites. I recently read her debut novel, The Flight Girls, and was blown away by her storytelling ability yet again. Based on the true story of a pioneering group of female pilots, The Flight Girls has the heart, soul, and strength, exactly what I want from a WWII novel.
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- WWII historical fiction
- homefront story
- women in service
- strong female friendships
- romance (closed door) subplot
- feminist fiction
Pub date: July 2, 2019
A stunning story about the Women Airforce Service Pilots whose courage during World War II turned ordinary women into extraordinary heroes
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.
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.
“There was no controlling our destiny. There was only what we did in the moment.”
This book solidified the fact that I'm officially the president of the Noelle Salazar fan club, y'all. After reading Angels of the Resistance, I was already a member, but now I've risen in the ranks. Her writing style is perfect in my opinion, as it ties in so many aspects of life: family, love, purpose, loss, joy, and much more. The Flight Girls, like her other novels, takes the reader on a journey full of highs, lows, and everywhere in between.
Salazar has a knack for creating relatable characters that stick with you long after The End. The main character, Audrey, is full of life and passion for forging her own way. And when she connects with the various other young pilots, you really get a sense of what young women in the US were feeling at that time. Pushing past the barriers of domesticity, the young women of the WASPs risked their lives to find a purpose beyond marriage.
One of my favorite parts of The Flight Girls was the sweet romance between Audrey and James. What started out as friendship morphs over time in their hearts and minds. I was eager to see if the relationship would develop despite the distance and danger. I'm a sucker for a wartime romance, and this book definitely delivered.
Lastly, the friendship stories in this book were so powerful. The loss Audrey experienced after Pearl Harbor could have caused her to withdraw and isolate. But she finds friends in her new unit that forces her to face the fear of connection and draws her out of her shell. In the end, The Flight Girls is as much about the WASPs as it is about Audrey.
“Not everyone needs a relationship to feel fulfilled.”
Overall, I adored the characters, the story, the action, the romance, and the strong female friendships of The Flight Girls. This is how you write a book! I devoured this novel in less than 24 hours, flipping pages in the middle of the Houston airport like a mad woman. If you're in the market for a good US homefront WWII novel with lots of emotion, drama, and action, this book is perfect!