Here's the quick summary, first, of The Beantown Girls. Most of the summary is from Booklist, February 2019. "When her fiance, Danny, is declared missing in action, Fiona decides to join the Red Cross Clubmobile girls, whose mission is to accompany the troops, serving coffee and doughnuts and boosting morale." Fiona and her best friends from Boston Teachers College are shipped to England, but Fiona wants to get to the continent, hoping to get closer to Danny, and maybe find him. This novel sends all three women to Europe during World War II, in a story involving wartime romances.
Did you catch the line that said the three women joined the Red Cross Clubmobile girls? I've read a number of novels set during World War II, and some nonfiction. I've never heard of Clubmobile girls. There's actually a history online at http://www.clubmobile.org/history.html, and the Wikipedia article quotes it. But, there are pictures of some of the women in the online history. The Clubmobile services started in 1941, and ran throughout the war years. There were also variations operating during the Korean War and Vietnam War.
I wasn't surprised by the vehicles and trucks the women drove or worked in. Even Queen Elizabeth II drove during the war. What did surprise me was they operated close to the front. The article online says, "In preparation for the invasion of Normandy, June, 1944, a 2-1/2-ton GMC truck was converted to a clubmobile, with the necessary kitchen containing doughnut machine, coffee urns and the like. Close to one hundred of them were made ready. Red Cross girls who had worked on the larger clubmobile in Great Britain, were given driving instruction in order to manage the truck clubmobile."
"Beginning in July, 1944, as soon after the invasion that it was safe to send Red Cross personnel onto the Continent, ten groups of 32 Red Cross girls each, along with eight clubmobiles per group, a cinemobile, three supply trucks, trailers and three British Hillman trucks, were sent to France to be attached to various US Army Corps."
Read the entire article. It's fascinating, and it's interesting to see the photos of some of the women. You might be tired of World War II novels, but the story behind this one is one I never knew.
The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey. Lake Union Publishing, 2019. 366p.
If you don't get this at your library, at the moment it's free through Amazon if you have Kindle Unlimited.