Today, I am excited to be sharing my review of Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman with you all.
An extraordinary story inspired by the real Women’s Air Raid Defense, where an unlikely recruit and her sisters-in-arms forge their place in WWII history.
Daisy Wilder prefers the company of horses to people, bare feet and salt water to high heels and society parties. Then, in the dizzying aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Daisy enlists in a top secret program, replacing male soldiers in a war zone for the first time. Under fear of imminent invasion, the WARDs guide pilots into blacked-out airstrips and track unidentified planes across Pacific skies.
But not everyone thinks the women are up to the job, and the new recruits must rise above their differences and work side by side despite the resistance and heartache they meet along the way. With America’s future on the line, Daisy is determined to prove herself worthy. And with the man she’s falling for out on the front lines, she cannot fail. From radar towers on remote mountaintops to flooded bomb shelters, she’ll need her new team when the stakes are highest. Because the most important battles are fought—and won—together.
This inspiring and uplifting tale of pioneering, unsung heroines vividly transports the reader to wartime Hawaii, where one woman’s call to duty leads her to find courage, strength and sisterhood.
Radar Girls was recommended to me on twitter as part of my 12 Challenge, and I immediately knew that this was one that I would definitely get in to.
I have always enjoyed historical fiction that is based around either WWI or WWII, but Radar Girls promised to be something completely different to anything I had previously read. Set in Hawaii, in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbour, where women are taking their place in what was then considered a mans world, I knew this was going to make for a very interesting read.
From the very beginning, this book intrigued me, right from the introduction of the main character Daisy. Daisy was so different to most women of that era, with her total disregard to fashion and make-up, or gender stereotypes. She’s the sort of person that I feel I could get along with, so knowing that that I was going to enjoy the main character set me up perfectly for continuing the story. The action begins almost immediately with Daisy taking a nice quiet swim, and then finding herself getting caught up in the middle of a dog fight (planes, not actual dogs). The attack on Pearl Harbour and being taken completely unawares by it sparks a desperation from the military to get on top of things, leading to the birth of the WARDs (Women’s Air Raid Defense), which Daisy is very quick to sign up to.
The WARDs work is so interesting, and I actually think that I would really enjoy a job like that, despite the intense training, and the huge amount of pressure that comes with the job. Those women literally had the lives of all of those pilots in their hands, but also the whole population of the islands. If they didn’t get their coordinates or aircrafts correct, it could cause complete devastation. They must have felt like they had the weight of the world on their shoulders.
The women in the story are such a great mix of such different personalities, who make such wonderful friendships in the face of such terrifying times. I loved watching the friendships develop and grow throughout the book, and it was really lovely to see women lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down all the time. There were moments were Daisy was maybe looked at differently for the way she dressed or her lack of interest in the more feminine things, but ultimately the women did all pull together and move forward to become an incredible group.
Throughout the story we watch the developing relationship between Daisy and Walker. Walker is Daisy’s ex bosses son, and he is also a fighter pilot on the front lines. I loved watching their relationship blossom from nothing, to something rather beautiful. However, Walker’s job makes Daisy’s job much more difficult, because it means she has a very emotional attachment, and in her line of work it makes the stakes even higher. Their story weaves its way nicely into the chaos of everything else that is happening, and comes together in an intense, heart in the mouth climax, that will have you on the edge of your seat, and crossing all of your fingers for a positive outcome.
Overall, this book was everything I hoped it would be. An exciting, tense, war story, that showed the pure strength and determination of women. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it’s a definite must read for all historical fiction fans!
I give Radar Girls a 4.5 star rating!
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