What I love about this book is that although it is a work of fiction, it reads like a true story. It feels like the memoirs of a soldier from another reality where women really were soldiers appeared in our world. The military exploits are clearly well-researched, and the story simply has the weight of reality. Grant has given his fantasy a ring of truth that makes the tale resonate with the reader and stick with them long after the book is over. These specific people may not have existed, but what makes them riveting to read about is the fact that they could have. This accuracy is evident not only in the real battles engaged but also in the personal struggles faced by the main three women. Not only do they face adversity for being women in the army, but Marr also is faced with racism and Schulterman is faced with anti-semitism. The women face heckling and barrages of harassment at every turn, black soldiers are relegated to lower ranks, and a Jewish spy such as Schulterman faces even higher stakes in her covert missions should she be captured. To his credit, Grant does not omit these struggles, painting a more realistic picture of the America of WW2. He does not glorify war or America, as many stories of WW2 are wont to do, he shares the daily struggle soldiers faced. The terror, the waiting in foxholes, the trauma of the battlefield, the fragility of life. War was not, is not, a glorious charge to victory. It is inches gained and lost through the blood of teenagers with too much eagerness and too little experience. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, the other soldiers met in the story form a camaraderie so tightly knit it lasts all their lives. The lighter moments of soldier’s jibes and laughter shine through and further help weave a complete picture of WW2 and a soldier’s experience.
Reading this series, I felt an immense connection with each character and was left feeling hopeful, capable, and strong. Front Lines is an incredible story that is truthful and candid in such a way one almost forgets it didn’t actually happen. If you’re looking to read about some inspiring women or a read a new take on an increasingly overplayed war genre, this is the book for you.