Faces of Home at the Front – “The Beantown Girls” by Jane Healey

Author Jane Healey introduces us to three Boston-area college friends who decide to do their part for the war effort as Red Cross Clubmobile volunteers. Each has her own reasons for pursuing this endeavor, the most compelling of which is Fiona Denning’s. Fi needs to find her fiancé who was shot down over Germany and reported as MIA. Viv is looking for adventure and escape from what she sees as a banal future akin to those of her sisters; marriage, motherhood, yada, yada, yada. Dottie loved being a music teacher but she, Viv and Fiona were a team, so she took her guitar and held on tight for the ride of her life. That ride included long hours serving coffee and doughnuts to servicemen on the front lines in the ETO (European Theatre of Operations), often in harrowing situations. Even though the girls from Beantown had undergone extensive training, nothing could’ve prepared them for the challenges they faced. But face them they did, with wit and courage that gained them admiration and accolades from unlikely sources. “The Beantown Girls” is a rare literary treat of fact-based historical fiction. Healey breathes life into her characters and imbues them with qualities you admire and believe in. This is masterful prose that sings and the narrative is perfectly paced and so compelling I could not put it down. Five gold stars!

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