Uncategorized

Review: We Band: A Novel of Angels by Elise Hooper

41zE26gFgWL._SY346_

My Interest

I read and enjoyed the author’s previous books, Fast Girls, and The Other Alcott (links are to my reviews). I devoured the book, We Band of Angels, about the real nurses on Bataan that is linked at the bottom of this post. That I finished the story of a Filipina heroine in Asian American Pacific Islander month is just something nice, but totally unplanned. So many Filipinos have served the United States proudly in the past, in spite of the Colonial relationship forced upon them in the now mostly forgotten Spanish American War.

The Story

Tess is a Army nurse in the Philippines as the Japanese are saber-rattling and getting ready to plunge the USA into World War II. Flor, a Filipina college student, is set to leave for the USA on December 8, 1941. When the Japanese attack Tess and her colleagues are sent to Bataan to serve in a “jungle” hospital where their health severely deteriorated. Next they were moved to the Malinta tunnel on Corregidor. When the Japanese forced General Wainwright to surrender, the nurses were imprisoned at the former University of Santo Tomas campus in Manilla.

The nurses had been given no Army basic training, knew nothing of handling weapons (unless taught to shoot a rifle back home) but survived their harrowing ordeal through grit, determination, and the bonds of true friendship–relying upon each other to stay strong. Along the way, as often happens in war time, even in captivity, romance happens.

Flor, from Manila, turns to helping the resistance–using an ingenious technique to smuggle messages out of Santo Tomas. Her family’s loyal servant helps her, but is clearly her own person–not just taking on the risk of the resistance to keep her job. Flor, too, continues the ‘other’ side of her life, continuing to live with her family and enjoying a romance

My Thoughts 

I’ve done a poor job of conveying all the emotion that is in this story! The characters were well developed and I came to care about all of the main characters. Yes, there is romance, but it does not in any way diminish the heroism of these women. Tess must make a horrible choice at one point, but proves herself up to the task and then some. Flor, too, faces harrowing choices, but does so resolutely and decisively. I admired both of these women even though they were fictional.

I did find Don’s story a little weird. When reading that storyline I did not feel enough emotion for him and X (no spoilers) to predict that conclusion. It still seems a little “out there” to me. No matter, it is one small minor storyline.

Of the three books by Elise Hooper that I’ve read, I think this did the best at conveying the emotion and atmosphere of the story.

My Verdict

4.0

Angels of the Pacific: A Novel by Elise Hooper

My Reviews of Other Books By This Author:

Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Women’s Olympic Team

The Other Alcott

The Nonfiction Counterpart to this Book

51psKegf74L._SY346_ (1)

We Band of Angels by Elizabeth M. Norman

My review was lost on my old blog, so the link is the Amazon. I do not make any money if you click.

depositphotos_363129836-stock-illustration-asian-pacific-american-heritage-month

8 thoughts on “Review: We Band: A Novel of Angels by Elise Hooper

  1. I think we agree on this one, almost exactly. By the way, Ariel Lawhon (one of my favorite writers) is teaming up with two other authors (who I don’t know – McMorris, Meissner) for another book about these nurses, called When We Had Wings and it will come out in October. I just got the ARC from NetGalley!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay so… do you know of Team-W – Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White? Well, after enjoying their collaborative books, I had to read some of their solo books. Williams – brilliant (same level as Lawhon). Willig – very good, and almost as good as Lawhon. White… er… um… not my cuppa, I’m afraid. So, I’m willing to try this because of Lawhon alone.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There was a retired Army veteran who lived in my home town in southern Indiana when I was growing up. He had served in the Philippines and survived the Bataan Death March (I think that’s what it was called). We all considered him a true hero. I haven’t read much about the Philippines and their people during WWII. I enjoyed your review but have gotten to the age where I no longer want to read novels with WWII as the background. Our nurses were also heroes!!

    Liked by 1 person

I enjoy reading your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s