The Woman with a Purple Heart: A Novel (Paperback)
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"Historical fiction at its finest!" —Amanda Skenandore, author of The Second Life of Mirielle West and The Nurse's Secret
Based on the real life of Lieutenant Annie Fox, Chief Nurse of Hickam Hospital, The Woman with a Purple Heart is an inspiring WWII novel of heroic leadership, courage, and friendship that also exposes a shocking and shameful side of history.
Annie Fox will stop at nothing to serve her country. But what happens when her country fails her?
In November 1941, Annie Fox, an Army nurse, is transferred to Hickam Field, an air force base in Honolulu. The others on her transport plane are thrilled to work in paradise, but Annie sees her new duty station as the Army's way of holding the door open to her retirement. But serving her country is her calling and she will go wherever she is told.
On December 7, Annie's on her way to work when the first Japanese Zero fighter plane flies low over Hickam's Parade Ground. The death and destruction that follow leave her no time to process what's happening. She rallies her nurses, and they work to save as many lives as they can. But soon their small hospital is overwhelmed. Annie drives into Honolulu to gather supplies, nurses, and several women who will donate blood. However, the nurses are Japanese Americans, and the blood donors are prostitutes.
Under Annie's leadership and working together in unexpected ways, they make it through that horrific day, when one of the Japanese American nurses and Annie's friend, Kay, is arrested as a suspected subversive. As Hickam tries to recover, Annie works to find her friend and return Kay to her family. But Annie's love for her country is put to the test. How can she reconcile the American bravery and resilience she saw on December 7 with the prejudice and injustice she witnesses just a few months later?
Praise for The Woman with a Purple Heart:
"Vividly portrays a little-known story in a well-known time on a day that will live in infamy. A stirring read!" —Erika Robuck, national bestselling author of The Invisible Woman
"A wonderful tribute to a true American hero." —Sara Ackerman, USA Today bestselling author of Radar Girls and The Codebreaker's Secret
"Fast-paced and immersive. This is the kind of story that sticks with you long after turning the final page." —Elise Hooper, author of Angels of the Pacific
"The Woman with a Purple Heart is historical fiction at its finest! With its indomitable heroine and harrowing, real-life events, this story captured my heart and never let go. Vivid, nuanced, and inspiring, it’s a book I’d recommend to all my friends—nurses and non-nurses alike!" — Amanda Skenandore, author of The Second Life of Mirielle West and The Nurse's Secret
"While much has been written about the attack on Pearl Harbor, this book explores more deeply the simultaneous attack on nearby Hickam Field, as well as the indiscriminate removal of Japanese people from Hawaii…This is certainly a book to deepen one’s understanding." — Historical Novel Society
"Despite little being known about Lt. Fox, Hanks imbues her with genuine personality...in this charming yet sobering novel." — Booklist
"A wonderful tribute to a true American hero. Equal parts touching and heartbreaking, The Woman with a Purple Heart paints a vivid picture of what it was like at ground zero in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Historical fiction lovers, put this on your list!" — Sara Ackerman, USA Today bestselling author of Radar Girls and The Codebreaker's Secret
"Fast-paced and immersive, The Woman with a Purple Heart captures the bravery and dedication of U.S. Army nurses in Oahu during World War II. Not only does this gripping story spotlight Annie Fox, a hero who’s been overlooked for far too long, but it delves into Hawaii’s complicated wartime racial and political dynamics. This is the kind of story that sticks with you long after turning the final page." — Elise Hooper, author of Angels of the Pacific
"A complex and delicious morality tale. In The Woman with a Purple Heart, Diane Hanks walks with Army nurse Annie Fox through the fires and the fighting as she faces the reality of war at the tip of the spear. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Annie’s challenges as Chief Nurse at Hickam Field go beyond the drama of duty and the shock of massive death. Annie’s journey to the Purple Heart is one marked by courage, the drive to stand up to injustice, and the heartbreak of daily life and death decisions in war. We can’t help but pull for her every step of the way." — Mari K. Eder, Maj. Gen. (U.S. Army Retired), author of The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line
"Immersive and intense with brilliant characterization, elegant and pacey writing, and riveting drama, Hanks takes us deep in the heart of Annie as she struggles to reconcile her professionalism, patriotism, and conscience. It’s enthralling, poignant, and an absolute treat." — Penny Haw, author of The Invincible Miss Cust and The Woman at the Wheel
"Annie Fox and her heroic Army nurses take center stage in Diane Hanks’s The Woman with a Purple Heart. This bold, compelling, page-turner of a novel doesn’t flinch from exploring both the courage of those caught in the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as the injustices that followed one of the most tragic moments in America’s history." — Alix Rickloff, author of The Girls in Navy Blue
"A meticulously researched, moving tale that will stay with readers long after they turn the final page. Based on the true story of Annie Fox, this novel recounts her incredible bravery and courage, and also depicts what life was like for American Japanese in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack." — Soraya M. Lane, Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Girls of Pearl Harbor and The London Girls