WAVES on the Potomac

Fiction - Womens
456 Pages
Reviewed on 12/05/2022
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Author Biography

R. Ann Bush is a southern California native who studied history at Princeton University as an undergraduate and received her Masters in Women’s History at the University of London. One of her academic assignments was an oral history project featuring her great aunt’s experiences in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) during World War II. She received her Ph.D. in Public Health at the University of California San Diego and is currently a professor in Health Sciences at the University of San Diego. An experienced scientific researcher and academic author, Ann used the pandemic lockdown to weave together family narratives and first-hand naval experiences to tell the story. Ann lives with her patient husband and two inquisitive sons.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

WAVES on the Potomac is a work of fiction in the historical and women’s fiction subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author R. Ann Bush. This fascinating read combines espionage and women’s issues during the Second World War, which begins when our protagonist Meg Burke signs up for WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) training in the year 1942. Early on in her new field, Meg proves herself to be indispensable when decrypting radio transmissions from Japan and outshines her male colleagues frequently. But success comes with a price, and Meg soon realizes that she’s far deeper into the world of global intelligence than she could ever have bargained for.

Author R. Ann Bush delivers a high-stakes read that never overplays itself, and keeps readers as grounded in the reality of military intelligence as protagonist Meg herself is. There’s no glitz or Hollywood-style machismo to Meg’s work and attitude, and that in itself highlights the success of determined women like her who worked hard for their country’s war effort in 1942 with little promise of glory. I really enjoyed the intimate narration of Meg’s emotional challenges and the exploration of the pressure that she put on herself, the pressures she felt societally as a woman and a patriot in a country at war, and the danger lurking at every turn the deeper we get into the thick of the plot. Overall, readers seeking a realistic Second World War novel from a totally unique and truly eye-opening perspective should read WAVES on the Potomac. A recommended read indeed.


Could not put the book down. I loved the main character, Meg, and was cheering for her throughout the story.