Beantown Girls [Book Review]

March 29, 2019


The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey (cover) Image: three young women look out the side serving windows of a WW11 truck

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Red Cross Clubmobiles, Romance, Friendship

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

In The Beantown Girls, three best friends conspire to serve their country during WW11 by joining the Red Cross as Clubmobile girls: Fiona is admired for her organizational and leadership skills; Viviana is adventuresome and outspoken; and Dottie is a shy music teacher. Healey uses a chronological timeline to tell the story from Fiona’s point of view, and we soon discover that Fiona’s primary objective in this venture is to find more information about her fiance who is missing in action. To qualify as Clubmobile girls, the young women were chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, but none of them were prepared for the realities of war or the front lines. In addition to the Clubmobile story line focus, there is a bit of romance for the girls, too.

Links (and so many more available): clubmobiles in WW11, a brief history, 39 of the best images

clubmobile close up

Image Source: National Public Radio

My Thoughts:

Sometimes the enjoyability factor is the main consideration in declaring a book a great read. This is how I felt after finishing The Beantown Girls: “That was a great read!”

Characters: Fiona, Viviana, and Dottie feel like your best friends! They are realistically drawn, their ideals are admirable (also naive), their friendship is strong and supportive, and their first experiences as Clubmobile girls could be titled “The Bad News Bears Join the Red Cross and Serve Their Country.” Although challenging and different from what they expected, they persevere and don’t give up. They learn their jobs, are courageous in danger, become excellent problem solvers, and are each other’s best cheer leader.

Writing: After reading many books with two or more time lines and following stories told from multiple perspectives, the straight forward writing made The Beantown Girls a relaxing and quick read. I didn’t have to stop at the beginning of each chapter and think about where I was in the timeline or remember which character’s perspective I would be hearing. The reading experience provides an appreciated change of pace from other more complicated structures, and I think more simplistic writing mirrors the innocence and naivety of these 25-year-old girls. In addition to sprinkling the story with humor and lighthearted banter, the author provides an abundance of vivid details about Clubmobiles, the experience of the women, and the role of Clubmobiles on military bases. Learning about history is the joy of reading well-researched historical fiction. It often causes me to wonder what I would have done in this period of history.

Personal Preference: One part of the writing that was less appreciated was the use of “Jesus” as profanity. If this offends you as a Christian, I would estimate that there are between 15-20 instances of this in the story. Honestly, it was enough to hold me back from giving this a full five stars endorsement. Not only was I personally offended, but I wondered if this type of profanity was even used that much by women in the 1940s. It seemed a bit anachronistic. Again, this is a personal concern and may not affect your reading experience.

Plot: When the author quickly immerses me into the story in the first few pages, it predisposes me to a higher star rating! This quick engagement is also a good indication for the page-turning pace of the entire book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Despite including a great deal of historical facts, the story has an unputdownable quality that makes for a fast read. I also appreciated plenty of action that helped move the plot forward.

Role of Women: One comment that I see in other reviews is a reference to the role of women as simply comforting, beautiful distractions for men. Yes, the main role of the Red Cross Clubmobile girls on the base is to serve coffee and doughnuts, dance with the soldiers, and provide good conversation, kindness, and reassurance. Yes, it is uncomfortable for modern women to read about women portrayed in this manner, but I choose to take it in the historical context in which it was intended and feel grateful that perceptions of women are different today. *Spoiler: the girls end up doing so much more than serving coffee!

Themes: This would make a great book club discussion because of some important themes that include: friendship, loyalty, bravery, courage, camaraderie, service to country, role of women in the 1940s and during wartime, new dreams, and love.

Recommended: I highly recommend The Beantown Girls as an inspiring and uplifting story of friendship and service to country. As WW11 stories go, this is a milder and more lighthearted read than some (although the girls do experience some heartbreak and get caught up in a battle at the front). Recommended for fans of well-told and well-researched WW11 historical fiction, for readers who appreciate stories of brave, independent, and determined women who are difference makers, and for those who are looking for a compelling and engaging read (with a sprinkling of romance!).

My Rating: 4.5 Stars (taking off half a star for profanity but rounded to 5 Stars on Goodreads)

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-starhalf twinkle-twinkle-little-star

Beantown Girls

Beantown Girls Information

Meet the Author, Jane Healey

Jane HealeyJane Healey shares a home north of Boston with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. When she’s not writing historical fiction, she enjoys running, reading, cooking and going to the beach.
For more information on the author, her work and upcoming events:

Twitter and Instagram: @healeyjane


Are you familiar with the Red Cross Clubmobile program?
Is The Beantown Girls on your TBR or have you read it?

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Looking Ahead:

In a few days look for my March Wrap Up.

Winter and Spring TBR

I’ll be providing my last update for my Winter TBR as I read the last selection.

Here’s my Spring TBR.

Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:

***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



    • I didn’t get an ARC either….but one day it was $3.99 for kindle and I snatched it up! Hope you get a copy soon! 👍

  1. […] Despite my best intentions of having Beantown Girls by Jane Healey appear on my Spring TBR as my most anticipated read, I have to admit I’ve already read this….I kept hearing great reviews, histfic is my first love, it was a great price on Kindle, and my FOMO kicked in! Blog review here. […]

    • I also checked with my mom and she thinks the same. She’s 92 and said, “in my mind I just convinced myself that they were really praying”!

  2. New follower here via the Book Review link up party 🙂

    What a great review! I’ll have to mark this in my ‘to read’ list. I’ve been craving a good “historical” novel.

  3. Thank you for the heads up about the use of “Jesus” as a profanity in this book. That’s a deal breaker for me more than almost any other profanity. I have quit reading books I otherwise liked very much because of it. I think you’re right about whether or not it was used by women at the time, and I also think it’s a language cop out on the part of authors who shouldn’t need to use the name of my Lord as profanity.

    • My mom who’s 92 read it and said, “I kept pretending they must be praying because they usually said it in dangerous situations!” 😂 I agree that disrespecting someone’s religion is a poor use of language by professional writers! It has spoiled a number of books for me as well Debi. Thanks for commenting! 👍

Leave a Reply