The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar wasn’t at all what I thought it would be when I purchased it as an Audible Daily Deal last year. From the cover, I was expecting a story about three (3) Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in World War II. Instead, it was more often a romance story told in the first person by a female pilot named Audrey Coltrane.
After I started listening to it, I was taken aback by some historical inaccuracies in the first of the novel. Audrey, who is from Dallas, Texas becomes a pilot instructor at Pearl Harbor. Prior to the December 7, 1941 attack, she talks about going swimming at Lake Grapevine. Since I happen to live near Lake Grapevine, I know the lake wasn’t formed until the 1950s. Audrey also talks about people watching the attack on Pearl Harbor on their televisions. Televisions weren’t common in American homes at that time. With these mistakes, I didn’t know whether or not to believe Salazar’s history of the WASP program. I decided to trust that she had done a better research job on that topic and continued listening.
Audrey is from a wealthy Dallas family who wants nothing more than to buy a small airstrip and fly planes. She has no intention of getting married or having children. While she is training pilots in Hawaii, she learns a great deal about military aircraft. She shares a house with three other female trainers and they become very close. She also befriends the handsome Lieutenant James Hart, who too has no plans to marry. After they leave Hawaii, James and Audrey promise to continue their correspondence.
While James is fighting overseas, Audrey joins the WASP program. In her training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, Audrey goes through a rigorous program and makes more endearing friends with the other female pilots. Soon, the letters from James become few and far between. Audrey catches the eye of the most handsome instructor and must decide if she really does feel more for James than friendship.
The romance portion of the book was not nearly as interesting to me as the female camaraderie, flight training, and the dangerous jobs they were doing. The novel did a good job of showing the discrimination against the female pilots by not only the male pilots but from the Army in general. It also did a good job of showing how the war affected not only the soldiers but those who were left at home.
3 plus stars. I would have given it 4-stars if there weren’t the previously mentioned inaccuracies. This debut novel was published on July 2, 2019. The Audible version is 10 hours and 21 minutes. The print length is 328 pages.
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