Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
D-Dames by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Description: Four stories of women and elemental magic in World War 2. Meet young women finding both courage and powers as they resist the Axis forces in England (fire), Wales (air), Northern Ireland (earth), and Scotland (water).
My thoughts: I had yet to try any of this author’s work before, but I went to her website and knew I wanted to read this short story collection the minute I saw the title and book cover.
I think it’s pretty safe to say this is the only time I’ve ever read historical fantasy fiction based on the Second World War. I thoroughly enjoyed all four stories and their depictions of imperfect, believable, powerful women. They aren’t almighty heroines who know everything and make nothing but superb decisions all the time (which would’ve been too over-the-top to be interesting). But these women are gritty and incredible when they kick into gear at critical moments, whether the actions they take are dramatic or subtle.
These tales have what I love about good short stories: sharp lines and meaningful details with no dispensable scenes. Vignettes like these reveal what’s important and let it be enough, trusting the reader’s discernment and imagination. Demonstrating how a story doesn’t have to be long to be substantive, with strong characters.
Oh! And after reading the stories straight through, you’ll definitely want to check out the annotations and bonus images. They’re like dessert that’s more than dessert.
D-Dames is currently available at
Laura VanArendonk Baugh’s website.