A Woman’s Place by Lynn Austin

Four women from different backgrounds watch as their sons, their brothers, and their husbands enlist to fight in World War II. And when their nation asked, they stepped up and become Rosie the Riveters in their own right. Their reasoning for taking jobs as electricians aren’t all born out of a patriotic duty.

Virginia longs to find a purpose beyond others’ expectations while Helen is driven by a loneliness money can’t fulfill. Rosa is desperate to flee her new in-laws’ rules and religious expectations while Jean hopes to prove herself in a man’s world and eventually go to college. Some of the men and women in their lives aren’t pleased that the women are working in the Stockton Shipyard, especially after they blur racial divisions within the plant.

There is a lot going on in this novel. The women confront gender discrimination as they enter the workforce and then racial discrimination after they’ve entrenched themselves on the production line. There is also the conflict between husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends as they struggle to figure out where women belong. World War II  allowed millions of women to enter the workforce and I can only imagine how these women would do after the war.

From that standpoint, I thought this book was pretty interesting. I enjoy reading about how women and men on the home front handled the war. Earl, a man crippled by polio, was a particularly intriguing character. The story itself isn’t very complicated, however. The writing is really simple and I became tired of all the “God this” and “God that” after a while.

Book Mentioned:

  • Austin, Lynn. A Woman’s Place. Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House, 2006. Print. 448 pgs. ISBN: 0764228900. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Bethany House. Retrieved: July 4, 2011.

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