The Wartime Sisters (Review)

by Lynda Cohen Loigman


For fans of Lilac Girls, the next powerful novel from the author of Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist The Two-Family House about two sisters working in a WWII armory, each with a deep secret.

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.


Taking place at the Springfield Armory at the beginning of WWII, two sisters work to salvage their relationship after being estranged for years. Both have secrets they are afraid to reveal to one another, and both are afraid to show their vulnerability for fear of sisterly judgment.

Alongside Lillian and Arietta, two different yet powerful women in their own right, the two learn the true power of being a woman. As Millie and Ruth begin to forage their sisterhood during a time of worldly tension, they learn their true inner and sisterly strength when a past secret dredges itself up demanding answers.

Not only does this book have all of the beautiful moments of love, loss, friendship, and trials, but it takes place during a time period that is one of my favorites. Loigman develops her characters flawlessly and paints pictures of gloved hands, bouffant hair, and fitted dresses that had me drooling. Couple this with the tension of WWII and the backdrop of the Springfield Armory, and this novel is the recipe for perfection. I absolutely love the ladylike power women displayed during this time, and this book demonstrates that one hundred percent.

Having two sisters myself, Millie and Ruth’s relationship was an easy one for me to understand. Loigman does a brilliant job of showing how deep familial wounds can be, but how strong a sister’s love is despite that. Arietta is an eccentric character for her time, and one that brought some spice and light to the novel, and Lillian was the epitome of class and strength as she selflessly guided the other women throughout their journey of discovery.

If you are looking for a book focusing on the actual war of WWII, this may not be the book for you. But, if you are looking for WWII told from the perspective of women who showed true grit and gumption during a tumultuous time, grab this one immediately. A perfect blend of women’s literature and historical fiction, I have been singing it’s praised far and wide since I finished this one.

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Amazon | Book Depository


Publication date: January 22, 2019
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Language: English

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