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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
Nola Jean Turner, Fran Marciano and Evie Pietryzkowski had only one thing in common - their love for baseball. In 1943, the three young women met on Chicago's Wrigley Field during tryouts for the Belles, a team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Each one had strong determination and love for the game and, like many baseball players, had fun nicknames - Farm Girl, Lippy and Toots. During World War II, the women's league drew large crowds while many men were off fighting. When the league disbanded in 1954, the women struggled to fit into the traditional expectations for women during that era. When present-day Jacks Demonte found a vintage handbag with curious artifacts in it, the story unfolds in unforeseen ways. Although the personalities of the three women are strikingly different, they find themselves unified for a noble cause many years later.
Author Britt Skrabanek has written an entertaining and illuminating historical novel in Nola Fran Evie. This book is skillfully crafted as several American eras are included. From wartime challenges, to racism and sexism, to challenges faced by today's career women, many historical realities are presented. The various time periods are illustrated through the life experiences of four women - three who grew up in the 30's and 40's, and a modern-day woman. At the same time, the boyfriends and husbands depict expectations and experiences for their gender. Although there is a large cast of characters, each one is well defined and interesting. How the author has interwoven the lives of these characters, and the events of several decades, creates a compelling read. Nola Fran Evie, written by Britt Skrabanek, is both engaging and informative. A true delight!