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  • Judith D Collins

When We Had Wings

A Story of the Angels of Bataan

By: Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris,

Susan Meissner

ISBN: 9780785253143

Publisher: HarperMuse

Publication Date: 10/18/2022

Format: Audiobook & e-book

Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld

My Rating: 4 Stars 🎧 (ARC)


OCT 2022 MUST-READ BOOKS


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.


  • World War II historical fiction

  • Stand-alone novel

  • Book length: approximately 128,000 words

  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

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My Review


A beautifully written historical fiction by three powerhouse authors, Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris, and Susan Meissner —WHEN WE HAD WINGS, A Story of the Angels of Bataan, based on true experiences.


Three women, World War II nurses stationed in the South Pacific, wage their battle for freedom and survival during the darkest days of war while remaining true friends.


The Philippines, 1941.


U.S. Navy nurse Eleanor Lindstrom, U.S. Army nurse Penny Franklin, and Filipina nurse Lita Capel develop a friendship at the Army Navy Club in Manila.


They want to believe they are living a paradise assignment. All three women 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.


They bond over shared experiences during their time in the South Pacific. Then the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Three brave nurses are caught in the crosshairs of a fight for the Philippine Islands, enduring combat and captivity as the first female prisoners of World War II.


Based on real but little-known history of the first and largest group of American women ever taken captive as prisoners of war.


Alternating between three perspectives, rich in history, deeply felt, and meticulously researched—a tale of friendships, struggles, sacrifice, survival, courage, love, and endurance!


I listened to the audiobook narrated by Saskia Maarleveld for an engaging performance; however, I think it would have been better to have three different narrators for the three distinct voices of women.


Thank you to #HarperMuse and #NetGalley for a gifted ALC in exchange for an honest review. #covercrush #audiobook


@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 4 Stars

Pub Date: Oct 18, 2022

Oct 2022 Must-Read Books



Praise



“Lawhon (Code Name Hélène) and Meissner (The Nature of Fragile Things) team up with romance writer McMorris (The Edge of Lost) for an illuminating story of the nurses stationed in the Philippines during WWII . . . the authors pull off a gripping and seamless narrative. With this fine tale, the authors succeed at bringing to readers’ minds the courage and sacrifice of those who inspired it.”

—Publishers Weekly


“Three of the biggest powerhouses in historical fiction, Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris and Susan Meissner, come together to pen the breathtaking novel When We Had Wings, the story of three nurses serving in the Philippines during the Second World War. Combining the lush setting of the South Pacific with the unfathomable hardships of the combat theater, this book shines a light on a little-known aspect of history with a tale of unlikely friendship and the unshakable strength of the human spirit.”

—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman with the Blue Star


“In When We Had Wings, three bestselling and beloved authors deliver a story of strength and sisterhood inspired by the little-known experiences of the ‘Angels of Bataan.’ With gorgeous language and stunning historic detail, Lawhon, McMorris, and Meissner plunge readers into the Philippines and the epic struggles of the Pacific. Filled with heart and pathos, this is a story of hope, faith, and the power of friendship in the face of indescribable hardship.”

—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post


“Three fierce women from differing backgrounds come together in the Philippines during World War II to unwillingly be thrust into the chaos of evil that will blast their worlds apart. Lawhon, McMorris, and Meissner seamlessly blend three nurses’ stories and secrets with one deft and immersive storytelling voice. When We Had Wings asks the important question—how do we know what we can become until we must become it?—and answers it with a resounding novel of suspense, courage, and grand love. Based on the true story of the first female prisoners of World War II, When We Had Wings is thrilling, riveting, and deeply felt; a do-not-miss historical fiction masterwork.”

—Patti Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of Once Upon a Wardrobe and Surviving Savannah


“A riveting novel by a trio of powerhouse authors that offers a fresh take on World War II fiction, one that is uncannily resonant today. Set in the lush tropics, When We Had Wings is an utterly original tale about courage, duty, and endurance.”

—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace






About the Authors



Ariel Lawhon is a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, Indie Next, Costco, Amazon Spotlight, and Book of the Month Club selections. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four sons.


Ariel splits her time between the grocery store and the baseball field. Visit her online at ariellawhon.com; Instagram: @ariel.lawhon; Twitter: @ArielLawhon; and Facebook: @ArielLawhonAuthor.







Kristina McMorris is a New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of two novellas and seven historical novels, including Sold on a Monday with over a million copies sold. The recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, she previously hosted weekly TV shows for Warner Bros. and an ABC affiliate, beginning at age nine with an Emmy Award-winning program, and owned a wedding-and-event-planning company until she far surpassed her limit of "Y.M.C.A." and chicken dances. She lives with her family in Oregon. Visit her online at kristinamcmorris.com; Instagram: @kristina.mcmorris; Twitter: @KrisMcmorris; and Facebook: @KristinaMcMorrisAuthor.





Susan Meissner is a USA TODAY bestselling author of historical fiction with more than three-quarters of a million books in print in eighteen languages. She is an author, speaker, and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include The Nature of Fragile Things (starred review in Publishers Weekly), The Last Year of the War (named to Real Simple magazine’s list of best books for 2019), As Bright as Heaven (starred review in Library Journal) and Secrets of Charmed Life (Goodreads finalist for Best Historical Fiction 2015). Susan attended Point Loma Nazarene University and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their yellow Lab, Winston. Visit her online at susanmeissnerauthor.com; Instagram: @susanmeissnerauthor; Twitter: @SusanMeissner; Facebook: @susan.meissner; and Pinterest: @SusanMeissner.

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