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The War Librarian

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The Paris Library meets The Flight Girls in this captivating historical novel about the sacrifice and courage necessary to live a life of honor, inspired by the first female volunteer librarians during World War I and the first women accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy. Two women. One secret. A truth worth fighting for. 1918. Timid and shy Emmaline Balakin lives more in boo The Paris Library meets The Flight Girls in this captivating historical novel about the sacrifice and courage necessary to live a life of honor, inspired by the first female volunteer librarians during World War I and the first women accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy. Two women. One secret. A truth worth fighting for. 1918. Timid and shy Emmaline Balakin lives more in books than her own life. That is, until an envelope crosses her desk at the Dead Letter Office bearing a name from her past, and Emmaline decides to finally embark on an adventure of her own--as a volunteer librarian on the frontlines in France. But when a romance blooms as she secretly participates in a book club for censored books, Emmaline will need to find more courage within herself than she ever thought possible in order to survive. 1976. Kathleen Carre is eager to prove to herself and to her nana that she deserves her acceptance into the first coed class at the United States Naval Academy. But not everyone wants female midshipmen at the Academy, and after tragedy strikes close to home, Kathleen becomes a target. To protect herself, Kathleen must learn to trust others even as she discovers a secret that could be her undoing.


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The Paris Library meets The Flight Girls in this captivating historical novel about the sacrifice and courage necessary to live a life of honor, inspired by the first female volunteer librarians during World War I and the first women accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy. Two women. One secret. A truth worth fighting for. 1918. Timid and shy Emmaline Balakin lives more in boo The Paris Library meets The Flight Girls in this captivating historical novel about the sacrifice and courage necessary to live a life of honor, inspired by the first female volunteer librarians during World War I and the first women accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy. Two women. One secret. A truth worth fighting for. 1918. Timid and shy Emmaline Balakin lives more in books than her own life. That is, until an envelope crosses her desk at the Dead Letter Office bearing a name from her past, and Emmaline decides to finally embark on an adventure of her own--as a volunteer librarian on the frontlines in France. But when a romance blooms as she secretly participates in a book club for censored books, Emmaline will need to find more courage within herself than she ever thought possible in order to survive. 1976. Kathleen Carre is eager to prove to herself and to her nana that she deserves her acceptance into the first coed class at the United States Naval Academy. But not everyone wants female midshipmen at the Academy, and after tragedy strikes close to home, Kathleen becomes a target. To protect herself, Kathleen must learn to trust others even as she discovers a secret that could be her undoing.

30 review for The War Librarian

  1. 4 out of 5

    "Avonna

    Check out all my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com THE WAR LIBRARIAN by Addison Armstrong is an emotionally captivating dual timeline historical fiction story featuring two women finding their voices and standing up for what they believe is right against injustice and inequality no matter the personal cost. So much in this historical story mirrors the ongoing moral struggle occurring in current society. In 1918, Emmaline Balakin works in the Dead Letter Office. An only child, timid and Check out all my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com THE WAR LIBRARIAN by Addison Armstrong is an emotionally captivating dual timeline historical fiction story featuring two women finding their voices and standing up for what they believe is right against injustice and inequality no matter the personal cost. So much in this historical story mirrors the ongoing moral struggle occurring in current society. In 1918, Emmaline Balakin works in the Dead Letter Office. An only child, timid and bookish until she discovers a letter bearing a name from her past. It is the spark she needs to break out of her shell and embark on an adventure that takes her to a frontline hospital in France as a volunteer librarian. She reunites with a man from her past, befriends black servicemen and protests banned books as she discovers she is stronger than she believed until the military steps in. In 1976, Kathleen Carre is eager to prove herself in the first coed class at the U.S. Naval Academy, but not everyone wants women at the Academy. The harassment only makes Kathleen more determined to succeed until the death of her grandmother who raised her almost breaks her. The solitary Kathleen soon finds herself being accused of crimes that could be the end of her dreams at the Academy unless she learns to trust others and uncover a secret from her grandmother’s past. I loved this story and the strong, independent women characters. I found the history of the voluntary librarians overseas fascinating and the ongoing discussion of banning books relevant, to my dismay, to this day. The integration of women into the service academies occurred when I had just graduated from high school, and I always found those women to be brave leaders in the fight for equality. To read and realize that some of the problems encountered by the female midshipmen still occurs today, almost 50 years later is at times disheartening and at times maddening. This story opens the readers eyes to so many societal issues that are still considered issues and have never been resolved. This is an emotional rollercoaster with great characters that I could not put down. I highly recommend this dual timeline historical fiction!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    THE WAR LIBRARIAN by Addison Armstrong PENGUIN GROUP Putnam Pub Date: Aug 9 The War Librarian is a compelling dual timeline story focusing on two courageous women who must overcome obstacles in male-dominated military settings. In 1918, quiet bookish Emmaline strikes out past her comfort zone when she decides to volunteer as a librarian on the French front. When she finds romance in a secret book club there, she needs to grow even more fearless to survive. In 1976, Kathleen wants to be accepted into THE WAR LIBRARIAN by Addison Armstrong PENGUIN GROUP Putnam Pub Date: Aug 9 The War Librarian is a compelling dual timeline story focusing on two courageous women who must overcome obstacles in male-dominated military settings. In 1918, quiet bookish Emmaline strikes out past her comfort zone when she decides to volunteer as a librarian on the French front. When she finds romance in a secret book club there, she needs to grow even more fearless to survive. In 1976, Kathleen wants to be accepted into the first coed class at the United States Naval Academy. But not everyone wants a woman there, and she becomes a target when tragedy hits close to home. "Two women. One secret. A truth worth fighting for," the synopsis proclaims, and how apt that is. Also, The War Librarian includes an equally apt quote about literature: "Books are the best place to hide when the world is too much to take." Don't miss this glorious tale! Thanks to the author, PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine. #TheWarLibrarian #AddisonArmstrong #PenguinGroupPutnam #NetGalley #wwifiction #wwiFrenchFrontnovel #librarians #NavalAcademyFiction #maledominatedmilitarysettings #fictionaboutcourageouswomen #bookstagramcommunity

  3. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Caridi

    Oh how I just devoured this book! Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book, and I’m telling ya, you must get this book when it is released in August. I’ve never read a novel that so seamlessly blends two different historical time periods together in a way that comes to the most beautiful resolution. I love a book with a strong, independent female character, and with The War Librarian, you’re getting several. I simply adored this book. A must read in 2022!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sara Ackerman

    Wonderful book!! The War Librarian is an empowering tale of sisterhood and sacrifice, reminding us of the importance of standing up for what is right in the world–even in the face of war and great peril. Timely and enlightening!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tami (Books Bengals and Coffee)

    The title grabbed me, being a librarian and lover of words, the story kept me engaged right up to the very end. "Books here calm me. Things end happily in books - and when they don't, there's a reason." - Armstrong I love historical fiction - a story rooted in the past, but told with imagination. So when I saw "The War Librarian" and heard it was based on the War Department and the American Library Association providing 7-10 million books to soldiers libraries, I had to know more. Addison Armstron The title grabbed me, being a librarian and lover of words, the story kept me engaged right up to the very end. "Books here calm me. Things end happily in books - and when they don't, there's a reason." - Armstrong I love historical fiction - a story rooted in the past, but told with imagination. So when I saw "The War Librarian" and heard it was based on the War Department and the American Library Association providing 7-10 million books to soldiers libraries, I had to know more. Addison Armstrong definitely gave that to me and more. Told in 2 timelines, 1918 and 1976, both relevant to women soldiers and librarians, this is a fascinating read. In 1918, Emmaline arrives to provide books to wounded soldiers, hoping to give them peace in troubling times. And 1976, Kathleen is a plebe in the first ever womens class at the Naval Academy. Both women fight for acceptance in a male dominated world. Both find the path difficult. I agree with others, the title of this book is simplified although I can't think of what else I would have named it. Between the cover of Armstrong's book you will find the strength of family, both blood and by choice, racism, politics, feminism and most importantly the power of the written word. 'Emmaline's world begins with words and Kathleen's future depends on them. So while this is a story told during war times (Emmaline) or preparing for war, (Kathleen), its ultimately about the strength of character and the power of words to transform society for the better. Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Group and Addison Armstrong for interoducing me to war librarians. I was shocked I had never heard of them! Thank you for this thought provoking, important story! I am already telling my coworkers, and library patrons its a must read!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The War Librarian by Addison Armstrong is a wonderful dual timeline historical fiction that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. I just adored Ms. Armstrong’s previous book, The Light of Luna Park, which I also highly recommend by the way, so I knew I had to read this gem. I am so glad I did. The author takes two timeframes (1910s and 1970s) and weaves them both together to make one beautiful story. This book is also a multi-generational novel of two strong women decades apart, blazing thei The War Librarian by Addison Armstrong is a wonderful dual timeline historical fiction that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. I just adored Ms. Armstrong’s previous book, The Light of Luna Park, which I also highly recommend by the way, so I knew I had to read this gem. I am so glad I did. The author takes two timeframes (1910s and 1970s) and weaves them both together to make one beautiful story. This book is also a multi-generational novel of two strong women decades apart, blazing their own trails in their own respective ways against obstacles that know no timeframe. Here we get a gripping, suspenseful narrative with strong female characters that exhibit strength, courage, grit, passion, and loyalty. This is a beautiful story of two women: Emmaline coming out of her shell as a “War Librarian” (the term I am using here does not do her justice, but as not to spoil too much for fellow readers, I will leave it at that) in WWI and Kathleen as part of the first coed class in the US Naval Academy. Both seem worlds apart. Both seem so different, yet reading their courageous and unique stories and to see all that they faced, we can see how similar both women truly are. Truly a wonderful, unique, and inspirational story. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and G. P. Putnam’s Sons for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 8/9/22.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Sullivan

    As a librarian I am of course drawn to books that have librarians in a significant role, and particularly those where a librarian and librarianship is a central theme, and this book did not disappoint. The characters are well-developed and the plot moves at a satisfying pace, neither too slow nor too fast, the intertwining stories and seeing how the characters grew and developed set against very challenging circumstance. One story set in France during WWI, and the other at the Naval Academy in 1 As a librarian I am of course drawn to books that have librarians in a significant role, and particularly those where a librarian and librarianship is a central theme, and this book did not disappoint. The characters are well-developed and the plot moves at a satisfying pace, neither too slow nor too fast, the intertwining stories and seeing how the characters grew and developed set against very challenging circumstance. One story set in France during WWI, and the other at the Naval Academy in 1976 with the first class of female midshipmen. Considering everything going on right now with all the attempts of censorship, book banning, and book burning going on in our country, the message of the importance of the freedom to read and the responsibility of librarians (and everyone!) to protect that freedom really resonated. As a woman who previously worked in a male-dominated field as a civilian employee of the Navy and who is the mother of a daughter who is also not only in a male-dominated field, but also serves in the military, the story of Kathleen and her classmates fight to be accepted into the Naval Academy and overcome all the abuse and unfairness heaped on them really touched a chord with me as well. This is a wonderful book and I recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction, librarians, and others who oppose censorship and all forms of discrimination. * I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

  8. 5 out of 5

    Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)

    📚 Happy Saturday Book Friends! THE WAR LIBRARIAN is a two-time historical novel about two women linked by a family secret. The details about the WWI field hospital were interesting and sad at the same time. I was particularly surprised to read that African American injured soldiers were kept apart from the other patients, not because of the injuries, but because of the colour of their skin. It was also upsetting to read that in the late seventies, segregation was still happening, and that Africa 📚 Happy Saturday Book Friends! THE WAR LIBRARIAN is a two-time historical novel about two women linked by a family secret. The details about the WWI field hospital were interesting and sad at the same time. I was particularly surprised to read that African American injured soldiers were kept apart from the other patients, not because of the injuries, but because of the colour of their skin. It was also upsetting to read that in the late seventies, segregation was still happening, and that African American Marines were discriminated against. Overall, the novel was enjoyable, but a little bit predictable. #bookstadog #poodles #poodlestagram #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram #dogsandbooks #bookishlife #bookishlove #bookstagrammer #books #booklover #bookish #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #bookreviewer #bookcommunity #bibliophile #thewarlibrarian #addisonarmstrong #putnambooks #penguinrandomca #penguincanada #bookreview

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I really, really enjoyed this highly readable dual timeline historical fiction book about Emmaline, a war librarian serving in WWI and her granddaughter, Kathleen, who is among the first coed class at the Naval Academy in 1976. It was fascinating reading about Kathleen's experience trying to fit in and the prejudices she faces as a woman in a male dominated world. Mirrored by her grandmother's work bringing books to soldiers in a hospital and setting up a book club that discussed subversive and I really, really enjoyed this highly readable dual timeline historical fiction book about Emmaline, a war librarian serving in WWI and her granddaughter, Kathleen, who is among the first coed class at the Naval Academy in 1976. It was fascinating reading about Kathleen's experience trying to fit in and the prejudices she faces as a woman in a male dominated world. Mirrored by her grandmother's work bringing books to soldiers in a hospital and setting up a book club that discussed subversive and banned books. Intertwined through both timelines is the mystery surrounding Kathleen's grandmother's true identity and the lost love of her life. Highly recommended for fans of The Paris library and great on audio. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review. Favorite quote: "Books are the best place to hide when the world is just too much."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    Two Brave Women This is a dual timeline story of two brave women who knew what they wanted and went for it despite the disrespect shown to them by some of their male counterparts. It is a story of hard work, determination and breaking the gender prejudice cycle. Emmaline is in WWI, 1918, she sets her sites on becoming a war librarian after reading a letter she found in the dead letter office addressed to an old friend she cared for. She faces prejudice not only as a woman not to be taken seriousl Two Brave Women This is a dual timeline story of two brave women who knew what they wanted and went for it despite the disrespect shown to them by some of their male counterparts. It is a story of hard work, determination and breaking the gender prejudice cycle. Emmaline is in WWI, 1918, she sets her sites on becoming a war librarian after reading a letter she found in the dead letter office addressed to an old friend she cared for. She faces prejudice not only as a woman not to be taken seriously by the officers but desperately trying to make all soldiers feel better by finding them books to read and reading to them. She is taken aback by the prejudice against the black soldiers. A letter she composes against it has long lasting effects even into the next generation. A secret that is held by her best friend Nellie but never revealed. The time goes to 1976 and a young woman named Kathleen dead set on becoming a cadet at the United States Naval Academy. She wants to be in one of the first classes that women are accepted. Her Grandmother who raised her tries to discourage her but she is determined. She soon finds out that her grandmother was correct it is not easy to be a female cadet in a school that has been male only for so long. She finds a letter in her grandmother's letters after her death that will unlock an old untold secret which will change her life forever. This was an great book featuring strong willed, determined women fighting to be recognized for their efforts and fighting every step of the way. I love how the dual storyline comes together at the end and I did love the ending. This was a great book to read and I enjoyed reading it. I would recommend this book. Thanks to Addison Armstrong for writing a great book, to Penguin group at G.P. Putnam and sons for publishing it and to NetGalley for making it available to me to read and review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I requested this book from NetGalley because I was interested in the theme of women in the armed forces through the generations. The 1918 timeline follows a war librarian and a female driver in France near the end of WWI, and the 1976 timeline follows a young woman who is part of the Navy's first class including females. Each of these women meets challenges due to their gender, but they also create most of their most serious problems all on their own. My stomach turned. What had those women's han I requested this book from NetGalley because I was interested in the theme of women in the armed forces through the generations. The 1918 timeline follows a war librarian and a female driver in France near the end of WWI, and the 1976 timeline follows a young woman who is part of the Navy's first class including females. Each of these women meets challenges due to their gender, but they also create most of their most serious problems all on their own. My stomach turned. What had those women's hands been doing before the war? Delivering life, baking bread, sewing clothes? In this poignant line, the author gives a brief nod to traditional women's work and its value. Neither of the main characters seemed to embrace much of this attitude or even the mindset of their era. Instead, they both came across as 2020s social justice warriors. The 1918 chapters especially came across as highly anachronistic in attitudes and dialogue. I had a difficult time connecting with the 1976 granddaughter as well, not so much because she didn't fit her timeline, but she was just so unlikeable. Other readers may enjoy this novel for its strong female characters and unique points-of-view, but I was disappointed that it failed to transport me to another era. Book received from NetGalley. Opinions are my own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of The War Librarian by author Addison Armstrong.  I sat down and took over a week to figure out exactly what I wanted to say for this review. And I find that I still don't have the words to express how much I truly adored this one. I have read over 280 books this year so far and this is my first 5 starred read of the year.  I felt like I could actually experience and visualize both timelines and what these women both endured. Both timelines were powerful a Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of The War Librarian by author Addison Armstrong.  I sat down and took over a week to figure out exactly what I wanted to say for this review. And I find that I still don't have the words to express how much I truly adored this one. I have read over 280 books this year so far and this is my first 5 starred read of the year.  I felt like I could actually experience and visualize both timelines and what these women both endured. Both timelines were powerful and I probably couldn't pick which character I enjoyed reading about more. A great historical fiction read and ties in beautifully with Women's History Month.  I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for fans of historical fiction.

  13. 4 out of 5

    LibraryLaur

    A truly immersive dual-timeline (1976/WWI) historical novel. Both timelines were equally compelling. When I finished it, I immediately requested Armstrong's first book from my library, as I somehow missed it when it came out! Highly recommended. *Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review. A truly immersive dual-timeline (1976/WWI) historical novel. Both timelines were equally compelling. When I finished it, I immediately requested Armstrong's first book from my library, as I somehow missed it when it came out! Highly recommended. *Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carol lowkey.bookish

    This was a Five Star Read for me! I loved this dual timeline historical fiction book following the lives of two heroic women who served their country. Historical fiction readers get many dual timeline historical fiction novels to choose from that take place during WWI and WWII; this one was a little different. I liked that the WWI timeline was pretty narrowly focused on a female volunteer librarian and censorship. The more recent timeline was also very interesting and covered a point in recent hi This was a Five Star Read for me! I loved this dual timeline historical fiction book following the lives of two heroic women who served their country. Historical fiction readers get many dual timeline historical fiction novels to choose from that take place during WWI and WWII; this one was a little different. I liked that the WWI timeline was pretty narrowly focused on a female volunteer librarian and censorship. The more recent timeline was also very interesting and covered a point in recent history that was fascinating to me. Learning about the first class of women at the U.S. Naval Academy and what they went through was disconcerting and fascinating! With the World War I timeline, there were a lot of convenient coincidences, but it help move the storyline along. Because of this, we get more about Emmaline’s ideals and personal beliefs than just a story about a woman living in a World War I hospital as a librarian. I also loved all of the details about the library books and how they were donated to the soldiers by the people back home. Lastly, the ending is bittersweet but hopeful. I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange from my honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    The War Librarian is a compelling historical fiction novel. The story is told from two points of view; Emmaline, whose story is set in 1918, and Kathleen, whose story takes place in 1976. Emmaline is a timid young woman who goes to France during WWI to provide comfort to wounded soldiers through books, and Kathleen is appointed to the Naval Academy the first year it is open to women. Both women face unexpected challenges as they encounter racism and misogyny, and must dig deep to find strength a The War Librarian is a compelling historical fiction novel. The story is told from two points of view; Emmaline, whose story is set in 1918, and Kathleen, whose story takes place in 1976. Emmaline is a timid young woman who goes to France during WWI to provide comfort to wounded soldiers through books, and Kathleen is appointed to the Naval Academy the first year it is open to women. Both women face unexpected challenges as they encounter racism and misogyny, and must dig deep to find strength and courage to forge ahead. The author has done a wonderful job in bringing the characters, their stories, and their timelines to life.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    We meet two strong women who are determined to make their way in a man's world. We meet Emmaline Balakin in 1918 who after working in the dead letter office for five years volunteers to be the librarian in France during the war. Delivering books to the injured soldiers helps their morale and to pass the time. Being one of very few women, Emmaline has her struggles, and seeing the wounded soldiers is upsetting for her. We meet Kathleen Carre in 1976. She had been working in a dental office, had been We meet two strong women who are determined to make their way in a man's world. We meet Emmaline Balakin in 1918 who after working in the dead letter office for five years volunteers to be the librarian in France during the war. Delivering books to the injured soldiers helps their morale and to pass the time. Being one of very few women, Emmaline has her struggles, and seeing the wounded soldiers is upsetting for her. We meet Kathleen Carre in 1976. She had been working in a dental office, had been raised by her beloved grandmother, and wanted to be in the class of first women accepted into the Naval Academy. The men really didn't want women in the Academy and bullied and harassed them. One particular midshipman had it in for Kathleen and tried to humiliate her and trip her up as often as he could. This midshipman also had her accused of treason. We follow both women as they make it through their days. There is a connection and secret between the two time lines that will have readers dropping their jaws. Despite the excellent writing and revelation of the secret in the ending, THE WAR LIBRARIAN dragged for me. 3/5 This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I read this book in one sitting. I hadn't heard of war librarians before and since I am a librarian I was very intrigued. Normally I'm not a fan of dual points of view but I didn't mind it in this book except almost every chapter ended on a cliffhanger and I wanted to continue reading that's person's story. There's a major spoiler that I won't give but I have to say it will definitely shock some readers but if you're an avid historical fiction reader you might predict it. I was very intrigued ab I read this book in one sitting. I hadn't heard of war librarians before and since I am a librarian I was very intrigued. Normally I'm not a fan of dual points of view but I didn't mind it in this book except almost every chapter ended on a cliffhanger and I wanted to continue reading that's person's story. There's a major spoiler that I won't give but I have to say it will definitely shock some readers but if you're an avid historical fiction reader you might predict it. I was very intrigued about what all the American Library Association did during WWI. I hadn't heard about it before. It made me extremely proud. I want the patch that was on the uniform for war librarians. It's described as "an open book with ALA stitched into its pages". I can't wait to discuss this book but it doesn't publish for like 9 more months. I received an Advance Review Copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gabriella Saab

    What an engaging story! I thoroughly enjoyed Addison Armstrong's debut, The Light of Luna Park, and her sophomore novel did not disappoint, either. I was introduced to two areas of history I've never heard much of anything about before: war librarians during World War I and women in the first coed class at the Naval Academy. Armstrong tackles tough, dark subjects head-on and handles them with grace, honesty, and truth, prompting the same openness from the reader as we go through these experience What an engaging story! I thoroughly enjoyed Addison Armstrong's debut, The Light of Luna Park, and her sophomore novel did not disappoint, either. I was introduced to two areas of history I've never heard much of anything about before: war librarians during World War I and women in the first coed class at the Naval Academy. Armstrong tackles tough, dark subjects head-on and handles them with grace, honesty, and truth, prompting the same openness from the reader as we go through these experiences alongside her characters. The attention to research was remarkable and brought the story to life, as did beautiful themes of sisterhood, the unique way women form unshakable bonds unmatched by anything else, and of books and words, of their ability to inspire and effect change. That message and those themes, more than anything else, are what will stay with me from this lovely work of historical fiction. Absolutely recommend!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    I started this fast paced historical fiction while in the midst of a reading slump (which is why it took me as long as it did). It started off a little slow, but as the stories progressed I was hooked! This story is dual timeline takes place in both 1918 in France during WW1 and in 1976 at the Naval Academy with a woman who is apart of the first class to allow women into the academy. There is some heart-wrenching stuff in here: war, assault, sexism, and racism. I wanted to cry at some points. Ther I started this fast paced historical fiction while in the midst of a reading slump (which is why it took me as long as it did). It started off a little slow, but as the stories progressed I was hooked! This story is dual timeline takes place in both 1918 in France during WW1 and in 1976 at the Naval Academy with a woman who is apart of the first class to allow women into the academy. There is some heart-wrenching stuff in here: war, assault, sexism, and racism. I wanted to cry at some points. There’s also love and interesting plot twists/surprises throughout. There are characters you really want to root for and ones you can’t stand. Please add this book to your TBR for its release in August. I received this as an E-arc through NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own. Content warnings: death, brutal war, assault, one sexual encounter but not described in depth, some mild language but not overwhelming

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lily Doyle

    I ABSOLUTELY DEVOURED THIS BOOK. It's SO good and I can't believe that people have to wait until August to read it (Thanks, NetGalley and Putnam for not making me wait). Armstrong does an unbelievable job of weaving two separate timelines together, and telling the stories in a way that is compelling. I feel like I've read a lot of split timeline books recently, and this is one of the better ones. Emmaline and Kathleen are such fun and powerful protagonists, and you root for them throughout the bo I ABSOLUTELY DEVOURED THIS BOOK. It's SO good and I can't believe that people have to wait until August to read it (Thanks, NetGalley and Putnam for not making me wait). Armstrong does an unbelievable job of weaving two separate timelines together, and telling the stories in a way that is compelling. I feel like I've read a lot of split timeline books recently, and this is one of the better ones. Emmaline and Kathleen are such fun and powerful protagonists, and you root for them throughout the book. I feel that WW2 historical fiction is a bit overdone, so I was happy to dive back to WW1 for Emmaline's story - it felt new and interesting, and taught me something I didn't know. Highly recommend, lovely read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erin Alexander

    I loved this one! I was intrigued from the prologue. The two timelines worked really well together, I liked how they reflected one another although vastly different. I’ve read many historical fictions from both World Wars and this one definitely stands out as a favorite.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dannie Lynn Fountain

    Probably the best historical fiction I’ve read in ages. Loved the duality of time and narrative, such a quick but deliciously good read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    The War Librarian by Addison Armstrong is a dual timeline historical novel featuring courageous women. We get to meet Emmaline Balakin who went from working in the Dead Letter Office to a librarian in an army camp in France in 1918. Kathleen Carre is admitted as one of the first women into the United States Naval Academy in 1976. Each woman will face obstacles as they enter areas dominated and run by men. I thought the author beautifully wove the two storylines together. The book contains good w The War Librarian by Addison Armstrong is a dual timeline historical novel featuring courageous women. We get to meet Emmaline Balakin who went from working in the Dead Letter Office to a librarian in an army camp in France in 1918. Kathleen Carre is admitted as one of the first women into the United States Naval Academy in 1976. Each woman will face obstacles as they enter areas dominated and run by men. I thought the author beautifully wove the two storylines together. The book contains good writing with realistic characters. I enjoyed getting to know Emmaline, Kathleen, and Nellie (Emmaline’s friend in France). We get to see what life was like for them. It was especially difficult for Kathleen who was not wanted by the male cadets or the people who ran the school. Prejudice, banned books (censorship), secrets, lost love, courage, and bullying are the themes in The War Librarian. It was interesting learning about the Library War Service who was responsible for getting books to servicemen training in camps and those overseas. At first blush, it would seem that the two storylines would be worlds apart. As the story progresses, we get to see the similarity. The twist was something I saw coming, but I enjoyed seeing how it played out. I do want to let readers know there is bullying, mild foul language, and an intimate situation. If you are someone who has been bullied, you might find it hard to read one of the scenes. I was shocked at what the female recruits were subjected to at the academy. That they were expected to carry a purse and wear three-inch heels was idiotic. I understand they are training soldiers, but I do not know how recruits put up with the demanding routine, the yelling, and all the rules (some of them are ridiculous). The War Librarian is an emotional story with a special ending. The War Librarian is a captivating tale that historical fiction lovers will enjoy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    on page 118

  25. 5 out of 5

    Desiree

    Exiting at 48%. This is supposed to be a book about inspiring women serving their country. However, the narrative just keeps doubling and tripling down on the forced-in, racial aspect. Women oppressed, people of color oppressed, book "banning". It's like a woke free-for-all. Very disappointing as I loved this author's debut wholeheartedly. Exiting at 48%. This is supposed to be a book about inspiring women serving their country. However, the narrative just keeps doubling and tripling down on the forced-in, racial aspect. Women oppressed, people of color oppressed, book "banning". It's like a woke free-for-all. Very disappointing as I loved this author's debut wholeheartedly.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ali (exercise_read_repeat)

    4.5 stars for the War Librarian. This story is told from two different POVs and times. Emmaline Balakin works at the Dead Letter Office and becomes a volunteer as a librarian on the front lines of WWI. Kathleen Carre is a member of the first coed US Naval Academy class and is determined to prove she's worthy. Both women are trailblazer's in their own rights, and their stories, although seemingly separate (and around 60 years apart), ultimately come together. Review: I quickly became invested in b 4.5 stars for the War Librarian. This story is told from two different POVs and times. Emmaline Balakin works at the Dead Letter Office and becomes a volunteer as a librarian on the front lines of WWI. Kathleen Carre is a member of the first coed US Naval Academy class and is determined to prove she's worthy. Both women are trailblazer's in their own rights, and their stories, although seemingly separate (and around 60 years apart), ultimately come together. Review: I quickly became invested in both Emmaline and Kathleen’s stories. It was clear that their stories would intersect, and I was eager to learn how. Admittedly, I felt that the climax came just a little later in the book than I would have liked; however, this was overall an absolute pleasure to read, and fans of historical fiction should consider adding this to their TBR list. Thank you Putnam for my finished copy in exchange for my honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    "Two women. One secret. A truth worth fighting for." Told in the alternating voices of Emmaline Balakan and Kathleen Carre, I was immediately drawn into their lives during World War 1 and 1976. Each woman is fighting a battle to make a difference in a man's world and to find relevancy for themselves. Emmaline Balakan, modeled after a real-life war librarian, Mary Frances Isom, travels to France to bring and distribute books to injured soldiers in army hospitals. Emmaline is shocked to see the li "Two women. One secret. A truth worth fighting for." Told in the alternating voices of Emmaline Balakan and Kathleen Carre, I was immediately drawn into their lives during World War 1 and 1976. Each woman is fighting a battle to make a difference in a man's world and to find relevancy for themselves. Emmaline Balakan, modeled after a real-life war librarian, Mary Frances Isom, travels to France to bring and distribute books to injured soldiers in army hospitals. Emmaline is shocked to see the living conditions and segregation at the hospitals and the fact that the government restricts certain materials from being read. Kathleen Carre, against her grandmother’s wishes enrolls as one of the first women at the Naval Academy. The men make it quite clear that the women are not welcome and even go so far as to manufacture and lie about Kathleen's actions to get her kicked out. Both women face discrimination, less than ideal living conditions, isolation, etc. and accusations of sedition. Their stories are connected by a secret from Kathleen's Grandmother's past. It's frustrating that in the year 2022 many of the same issues are discussed and fought -- discrimination, censorship, hazing, etc. While the issues of book banning and censorship are different in the military during war time, who has access to books and book burning is still relevant today. Even though I have a Master of Library and Information Science, I have never heard of war librarians or the ALA's efforts in supplying books to soldiers. This historical fiction book has new insights and information to offer, Armstrong does an excellent job of weaving their stories together. Librarian books are in vogue right now and this will make an excellent book club choice. I highly recommend it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    JaNell Sherley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Source: NetGalley Format: E-book The War Librarian...Wow! I had no clue what I was going to get when I requested this from Netgalley. The cover and title were enough to capture my attention. I purposely did not read the description snippet so I would be surprised as I read. I was not disappointed at all. Spoiler time below. For Addison to be able to write 2 time lines completely clear and trackable, Oh my this alone made me push forward and not put the book down. Following Emmaline and Kathleen thro Source: NetGalley Format: E-book The War Librarian...Wow! I had no clue what I was going to get when I requested this from Netgalley. The cover and title were enough to capture my attention. I purposely did not read the description snippet so I would be surprised as I read. I was not disappointed at all. Spoiler time below. For Addison to be able to write 2 time lines completely clear and trackable, Oh my this alone made me push forward and not put the book down. Following Emmaline and Kathleen through their hardships and military careers, their trials and hardships, the friendships made and love lost...I feel like I experienced 2 lives at the same time. Both women have this urge to fight for what is right and uphold the integrity of a nation and agency built on the premise of honesty and honor, yet so broken in itself that it rewards those who refuse to live up to the same standards. The constant challenges to this and their determination to fight for what is right had me cheering them on as I flipped the pages. Both woman so strong in their own abilities and overcoming their own self-imposed obsticales...we need more heroines like them. This book has made me a fan of Addison Armstrong and I cannot wait to read more from her.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rikki Miller

    I could not put this book down. The intertwining of two stories - a World War I librarian in France and a young woman in the inaugural female class at the US Naval Academy, though years apart, deal with many of the same struggles and prejudices. Their stories will both captivate you and leave you page-flipping and anxious over what comes next in their tales. I’ll leave it there to protect against any spoilers. Armstrong’s research into both time periods left readers with the perfect amount of pe I could not put this book down. The intertwining of two stories - a World War I librarian in France and a young woman in the inaugural female class at the US Naval Academy, though years apart, deal with many of the same struggles and prejudices. Their stories will both captivate you and leave you page-flipping and anxious over what comes next in their tales. I’ll leave it there to protect against any spoilers. Armstrong’s research into both time periods left readers with the perfect amount of pertinent information. This book was not too dense as some historical fiction can be, it was just right in every way. This is a story about the triumph of women through the ages, and the power of when brave, forward-thinking people band together for what is right and just. Absolutely incredible. I suggest all fans of historical fiction, especially from the perspective of groundbreaking women, read this book when it’s out in August! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 Thank you to Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Long

    Set in a dual time line, Kathleen Carre was amongst the first group of women admitted to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. All she ever wanted to do was serve her country like her grandmother, Nellie who drove for the Motor Corps during WWI. As she struggles with the hazing and the rigor of training, Nellie passes away and when a letter arrives has her questioning if she even knew her grandmother at all. The answers to her questions come when that letter lands Kathleen on trial for treasonous mate Set in a dual time line, Kathleen Carre was amongst the first group of women admitted to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. All she ever wanted to do was serve her country like her grandmother, Nellie who drove for the Motor Corps during WWI. As she struggles with the hazing and the rigor of training, Nellie passes away and when a letter arrives has her questioning if she even knew her grandmother at all. The answers to her questions come when that letter lands Kathleen on trial for treasonous material after a male classmate does everything possible to expel her from the academy. This is a very interesting story. As I am slowly diving into WWI fiction, there are some things I learned about the war…especially the roles women played and the racial tension that existed even amongst soldiers defending our country. I was most grateful for the history lesson! Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Group Putnam and Addison Armstrong for early access to the wonderful history lesson.

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