Hula Girls
by Eric B. Miller
Milbrown Press

"When Joe tried to strangle her, she did what any woman would do. She crossed him off her list."

This character-driven novel explores the social and psychological terrain of a gorgeous, American military housewife in Hawaii in the 1940s. Every plot turn is thought-provoking. Mrs. Claudia Wyler transforms significantly. She starts out eager to please her handsome husband, clumsy in her efforts, and apologizing all the time. Meanwhile, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jack Wyler is having an affair and demands that Claudia be more competent. Though double standards of the era stifle Claudia, she is a sharp judge of character. She is also charming. However, the picture-perfect dream of the little white house in Hawaii is a fa├žade, and the couple struggles to thrive in the hypocritical, pre-war U.S. Navy social scene.

After tragedy strikes, Claudia's way of coping with her shock and grief compels the reader to feel tender compassion for her predicaments. Yes, Claudia has flaws, but they inspire humor, even if it is sometimes dark. In the middle of a crisis, Claudia is admirably cool and clever. She makes it through the roughest challenges and still feels a sense of devotion in shining her husband's shoes.

In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Claudia grows closer to her neighbor Mary Ann, who has also lost her husband. Readers fall in love with Mary Ann, too. These women work together to survive. They get jobs, smoke Chesterfields, and transform from housewives to working women. But no matter how hard they work, they can't make rent. To what lengths must they go just to survive? Plus, is there another baby on the way? Where are the men? This novel is an emotional journey with great storytelling and a satisfying ending. It can inspire readers to contemplate gender roles and conflicts arising from World War II that have left an impact on our world today.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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