By: Therese Ambrosi Smith
Publisher: Blue Star Books
Publishing Date: August 2011
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: October 2011
This is a very realistic story about three women who left their homes in 1941 to work in the shipbuilding business while the men went to war. When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941 by the Empire of Japan, many women joined the work force in the United States to help build ships and do their part for the war effort. This book is about three such women. Matilda “Tilly” Bettencourt, was a young woman working as a waitress in her Uncle’s restaurant in Monetera, California. She was a restless young girl who was looking for more in life and took a job with the Kaiser Company in Richmond, CA as a welder in a factory building Liberty Ships for the US Navy; Doris Jura lived in Pittsburgh, PA working as a retail saleslady who was also looking for a little adventure and set her sights on the Kaiser Company too. Sylvia, a little older than the first two, from the Midwest, and not at all happy with her life, came to Kaiser and moved into the employee housing (Airstream Trailers). These women spent a lot of time together and got to know each other quite well. Before the war ended Sylvia lost her nephew to combat in the Pacific, Doris received an inheritance she wasn’t expecting from an Uncle who she had never met and Tilly refused a marriage proposal from a man who will turn out to be very important in her life regardless of his feelings for her. They forge a very lasting friendship and discover that their respective pasts will come together in a very unusual way.
When the war is over these three women really do not want to go back to their day to day jobs and decide to open up a candle making business. There is an extremely good mystery to this tale that readers will be enthralled with and will keep readers busy until the last pages.
This story is inspired by the long ago tales of “Rosie, the Riviter.” Readers may remember the great posters depicting the lady with the bandana on her head holding a drill that were popular in the 40’s. These are the ladies who helped build the equipment that the Armed Forces used to win the war. Wax is not your usual war novel and men and women alike will be interested in this segment of the war effort.
Quill Says: This is a picture of a bygone era of living in the US, when everyone felt an obligation to help protect our freedom.