Jennifer Chiaverini: Switchboard Soldiers (2022, HarperCollins Publishers) 5 stars

Relatable Military Historical Fiction

5 stars

I picked this because I'm a Signal Corps vet and the book felt like it was written just for me. The characters were well-drawn. The real program was very selective, so every point-of-view character was an Amity Blight-style high achiever, which I enjoyed. They were different enough to give variety, but they shared the same dedication and optimism. I enjoyed spending time with them and going through their ups and downs. Grace felt the most relatable, but they all had their charms.

This took a long time to read because I had a busy month, but it never felt slow or dragged. I liked that it carried through the whole war, and would have been willing to stick around to read a dramatization of the soldiers getting their benefits.

As to the downsides, I wondered if the author had a background in advertising. Sometimes the descriptions were a little purple and sounded like ad copy or a thank you note. There were a few editing mistakes that felt basic for a prominent author, such as the same character's rank changing within a couple of pages.

Not precisely a downside, but there was some funny presentism. All the characters had basically modern racial attitude and thought wearing masks during a pandemic was very important.

I'm not sure I'd rate it so high if it didn't feel tailored to me, but it does and I did.