The Girls in Navy Blue: A Novel (Paperback)
A gripping and compelling dual timeline novel about three women who joined the Navy during WWI to become yeomanettes and the impact their choices have on one of their descendants in 1968.
1918 - America is at war with Germany, and, for the first time in history, the US Navy has allowed women to join up alongside the men. Ten thousand of them rush to do their part. German-American Marjory Kunwald enlists in the Navy to prove her patriotism. Suffragette Blanche Lawrence to prove that women are the equal of men. And shy preacher’s daughter Viv Weston in a desperate attempt to hide from the police.
Even as the US military pours into France and the war heats up, the three yeomanettes find friendship and sisterhood within the Navy. But all their plans for the future are thrown into chaos when Viv’s dark past finally catches up with her.
1968 - Newly divorced and reeling from a personal tragedy, Peggy Whitby unexpectedly inherits her estranged great-aunt Blanche’s beach cottage outside Norfolk Virginia. But her fragile peace is rattled when she begins to receive mysterious postcards dated from 1918 when Blanche served as a Navy yeomanette.
Curious to learn more about her mysterious aunt and uncover the truth behind the cryptic messages, Peggy is drawn deeper into the lives of the three young Navy girls. But her digging uncovers more than she bargains for, and, as past and present collide, Peggy must decide if finding out about her aunt is worth the risk of losing herself.
Award-winning historical fiction author Alix Rickloff’s family tree includes a knight who fought during the Wars of the Roses and a soldier who sided with Charles I during the English Civil War. With inspiration like that, what else could she do but write her own stories? She lives in Maryland in a house that’s seen its own share of history so when she’s not writing, she can usually be found trying to keep it from falling down. .
"THE GIRLS IN NAVY BLUE had me smiling from first page to last! When the US Navy admits women to the ranks during World War I, three intrepid yeomanettes answer the call: Blanche the dashing suffragette, Marjory the German immigrant, and Vivian the preacher's daughter on the run from the police. Friendship, duty, and the struggle of making their way in a man's world will bind the three together, and their secrets will resound through the next fifty years--until Blanche's great-niece, reeling from losses and desperate for home, will pick up the pieces. Alix Rickloff pens a lovely coming-of-age tale: brave women making waves in a war-torn world." — Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author
“The unforgettable story of the very first women allowed to join the US Navy in World War I, and three friends with private reasons of their own for enlisting—reasons that go well beyond duty and patriotism. The Girls in Navy Blue is an enthralling story about sisterhood, and the secrets we leave behind. A delight from the first page to the last!” — Lecia Cornwall, author of The Woman at the Front
"The Girls in Navy Blue is a nostalgic and eye-opening journey into the almost forgotten story of the women who served in the U.S. Navy during World War One. Rickloff has written a riveting reminder that the bonds of found family can be stronger than blood." — Kaia Alderson, author of Sisters in Arms
"The Girls in Navy Blue shines a light on the wartime experiences of servicewomen known as “the yeomanettes”, the first women to join the United States Navy. In this compelling story of ground-breaking women and the dangerous secrets they keep, Alix Rickloff brings the past vividly to life." — Christine Wells, author of The Wife's Tale
"Alix Rickloff’s THE GIRLS IN NAVY BLUE is a thrilling story showcasing the wartime contribution of a forgotten sisterhood of soldiers: the yeomanettes, brave women who answered the call during the First World War and served their country with dignity and resilience. Pulling together the experiences of three yeomanettes and one of their descendants, Rickloff beautifully depicts how secrets and sisterhood can resonate through the years." — Bryn Turnbull, author of The Woman Before Wallis
"This extraordinary novel follows the stories of strong women who undertake struggles and become stronger for it." — Library Journal
“In this compelling and heartwarming novel, Alix Rickloff shares with us two women, mother and daughter, whose tragic and triumphant lives intertwine through two world wars. The story pulls us into the universal struggle of all women to find their places in their worlds. I was deeply moved by Secrets of Nanreath Hall.” — Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author
“Two women and two wars separated by a generation filled with secrets that kept me turning pages to get to the mysterious truth. At the heart, this is a novel about searching for one’s identity. The vivid writing combined with such an intriguing story make Alix Rickloff an exciting voice in historical fiction.” — Renée Rosen, USA Today bestselling author, on Secrets of Nanreath Hall
“Alix Rickloff’s debut is a delight—beautifully written with fascinating characters, rich historical detail and an intriguing family mystery that keeps the pages turning.” — Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author, on Secrets of Nanreath Hall
“Telling an elegant tale about a mother and daughter trying to find themselves in the midst of two very different world wars, Alix Rickloff establishes herself as an up-and-coming talent in the historical fiction genre.” — Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author, on Secrets of Nanreath Hall
“In this engaging and deftly plotted novel, Alix Rickloff introduces us to two heroines who are emblematic of their time yet also manage to transcend its limitations, and who are so memorable and richly portrayed that they all but leap off the page. I loved Secrets of Nanreath Hall, Alix Rickloff’s first foray into historical fiction, and I eagerly await more from this sensitive and gifted novelist.” — Jennifer Robson, international bestselling author
“A wonderful blend of smart writing, memorable characters, and World War II imagery all centered on the hunger each one of us has to give love and receive it. A great read for not only devotees of period fiction, but anyone who craves a well-told story.” — Susan Meissner, author of A Bridge Across the Ocean on The Way to London
“The Way to London manages to combine a sense of epic sweep with a very intimate look at one woman’s emotional transformation, as the war drives Lucy Stanhope from Singapore to Cornwall to London--and, finally, to the most difficult destination of all: a sense of her own self and the place she belongs. I didn’t want the journey to end!” — Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author on The Way to London
“A gripping page-turner about a sisterhood of trailblazing women, the secrets they kept, and sacrifices they made. Rickloff’s compelling characters come to life off the page and make the reader invested in them until the very end. A fantastic read!” — Laura Kamoie, NYT Bestselling author of MY DEAR HAMILTON
“Rickloff delivers an engrossing novel of a young woman’s coming of age. Like all of Rickloff’s novels, the heart of the story is her characters, their emotional growth and strength, blended with wonderful storytelling, descriptions and dialogue that compel readers to believe they are a part of the action.” — RT Book Reviews on The Way to London
“Alix Rickloff has penned an entertaining novel…Recommended.” — Historical Novels Review on The Way to London
“Featuring a strong heroine and an emotional journey, The Way to London is a beautiful story of love, friendship, and the strength of the human spirit set against the backdrop of the tumultuous events of World War II.” — Chanel Cleeton, author of Next Year in Havana on The Way to London
“an emotional and fascinating journey into the hearts of many women. [...] Many will find the soap-opera plotline, likable characters, colorful backdrop and the quest for answers to decades-old questions as much fun as a Downtown Abbey episode.” — RT Book Reviews on Secrets of Nanreath Hall