I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

MRS. LIEUTENANT - A Sharon Gold Novel by Phyllis Zembler Miller

BookSurge Publishing
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: Very Good
ISBN: 9781419686290, $17.99, 494 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

"In the spring of 1970 - right after the Kent State National Guard shootings and President Nixon’s two-month incursion into Cambodia - four newly married young women come together at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, when their husbands go on active duty as officers in the U.S. Army.

"Different as these four women are, they have one thing in common: Their overwhelming fear that, right after these nine weeks of training, their husbands could be shipped out to Vietnam - and they could become war widows.

"Sharon is a Northern Jewish anti-war protester who fell in love with an ROTC cadet; Kim is a Southern Baptist whose husband is intensely jealous; Donna is a Puerto Rican who grew up in an enlisted man’s family; and Wendy is a Southern black who parents have sheltered her from the brutal reality of racism in America."

My impression, as I read, was that these four women had more than the fear of becoming war widows in common...they were just plain fearful. After marrying their husbands, they each had made a decision to leave the safety and security of their home to become an officer’s wife. They were moving into unknown territory.

Mrs. Lieutenant is written in the third person plus dialogue; each chapter opens with an historical fact ("President Nixon announces he is sending U.S. troops into Cambodia...April 30, 1970) and a guideline for Mrs. Lieutenant ("If the wife is well informed as to what is expected of her, the probability is greater that the officer will have an easier and more successful career.") One aspect of Miller’s writing style has a "Dick and Jane" feel about it, i.e. Kim places, Jim leaned, Roberts swats, Kim pulls, Sharon sighs. Otherwise, it reads smoothly, once you’re familiar with who’s who. It is well written and well edited, and I believe will appeal primarily to women interested in other women’s historical experiences and to readers in general interested in the Vietnam period.

Kaye Trout - May 10, 2008