Girls on the Line: A Novel

Girls on the Line: A Novel

by Aimie K. Runyan


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781503904569
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 331,627
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Aimie K. Runyan writes to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. She is the author of three previous historical novels, including the internationally bestselling Daughters of the Night Sky and Promised to the Crown. She is active as an educator and speaker in the writing community and beyond. She lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband and two (usually) adorable children. Visit her at

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Girls on the Line: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
ChocolateLady 20 days ago
Once again I was drawn to reading a novel about relatively unsung female heroes of the past, and this one does not disappoint. Although I do prefer novels about real women, Runyan’s protagonist Ruby is a totally fictional character; however, according to the author’s notes, she is actually a conglomeration of a group of real-life women, as are all the other women depicted here. Of course, the advantage to this is that Runyan could allow her imagination to run wild, and cherry pick the best stories from among many different women. The end result is a group of women, with Ruby as the main focus, who feel real and alive and ultimately admirable, even when they’re less than perfect. As I’ve mentioned many times before, imperfections in protagonists and other characters make them far more sympathetic and human to readers than those who are portrayed as flawless ideals. I should mention that I’m actually old enough to have seen a real plug-in switchboard in action, and my mother worked as a switchboard operator when she was a young woman. When I used to visit my father’s offices, my mother would explain what these women were doing, and how the whole thing worked. (I think she actually helped out a couple of times; it was fascinating to watch.) So I know what these switchboards are like, and I felt that Runyan did a stellar job of describing them, along with the types of pressures these women could face. It also occurred to me that if you’ve never seen one of these, you might think that working a switchboard isn’t all that complicated or heroic. Thankfully, this novel shows both the complexities of this work as well as the importance of getting messages through between the battle fields and headquarters, which is something that should not be underestimated. Putting realistic and empathetic faces and personalities to these women only emphasized this, and heightened my enjoyment of this narrative. That said, there was one aspect of this book that didn’t sit completely right with me. You might notice that the Goodreads summary for this book talks about how “Ruby must find her place in the military strata, fight for authority and respect among the Allied soldiers, and forge a victory for the cause.” This was very true and Runyan has Ruby deftly navigating all this. However, it goes on to say, “But balancing service to country becomes even more complicated by a burgeoning relationship with army medic Andrew Carrigan.” This is the bit that I was less enthusiastic about; how Runyan handled the romantic parts of this story. For the most part, Ruby’s relationship with Andrew is filled with all the right amounts of tension and chemistry. However, once things start to go well for the couple, there is a section that was, for me, overly sentimental. It was as if all of reality disappeared, and suddenly everything was ‘hearts and flowers,’ which didn’t fit in with the urgency of the rest of the book. Thankfully, this is just a small portion of the narrative, and when reality comes crashing back in, the action comes along. Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. Runyan has given us a fascinating story, with believable characters and a narrative that will draw in the reader from the start. I can warmly recommend this book and I believe it deserves a healthy four out of five stars.
Anonymous 29 days ago
I was captivated by this story of the "Hello Girls" of WWI, who served in the U. S. Army Signal Corps. Aimie Runyan, through meticulous research including diaries, interviews, and archives, both educates and entertains us with this not well known aspect of women serving their country. Ruby Wagner is determined, as are all the telephone operators, to "do their part" for the war, just as their brothers and boyfriends are heading for the front lines. The author paints a picture with words, as I feel I am connecting the calls or listening to shell fire or eating the barely palpable mess food. The story is about friendship, love, and life choices as well as the dark aspects of war. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
LlamaJen 3 months ago
Loved the book!! The cover is beautiful . I hate to say that I never knew women were sent oversees to work as operators during World War I. The book was very eye opening at the part women played during the war. How horrible that these woman risked their lives as operators and then weren't even recognized by the military or received benefits until so many years later. I loved the characters, especially Ruby. She was such a strong woman, except when it came to her mother (although I will agree her mom was a little scary.) Ruby was strong enough to join the Army Signal Corps, go to France during the war but would rather marry a man she didn't love so she wouldn't disappoint her parents and make them unhappy. Ruby Wagner is from a prominent Philadelphia family. Her brother, Francis, and her fiancé, Nathaniel (a man she hardly knows), are overseas during World War I. Ruby helps with the Red Cross and works as an operator at the Pennsylvania Bell Company. When word comes the Francis was killed during combat, Ruby feels the need to take his place. She becomes an operator for the Army Signal Corps and is deployed to France. Loved the story, writing style and characters. I loved reading about Ruby, Margot and the rest of the girls working as operators. They were all so brave, even when they weren't seen as equals. Andrew, the charming Army medic was a plus and he adds some romance to the story. Definitely recommend the book, especially if you enjoy historical fiction with a bit of romance. Look forward to reading more from the author. Thanks to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author, Aimie K. Runyan, for a free electronic ARC of this novel
KerryACroucier 3 months ago
Beautifully Written! This is the second novel I have read by Amie K. Runyan and, I have to admit, for me, this was another amazing read. This is the second of her novels focusing on women and their contributions in the Great War that most, including me, know little about. Focusing on the “Hello Girls,” female telephone operators who volunteered to serve their country, Runyan has created strong female characters that played a vital role in the U.S. war effort from the front lines. Ruby was not content to sit on the sidelines when it was apparent she had the skills that could make a difference in the effort. She discovered a strength and wisdom she didn’t know she had and that gave her courage to change the course of her life. This was a beautifully written novel that I hated finishing. If Runyan hasn’t made your list of to-read authors, this will convince you that she belongs there. #BloomReads #TallPoppies #LakeUnion #HelloGirls #GirlsontheLine
Anonymous 3 months ago
I need that 1/2 star! This book would certainly be 3.5 stars if I only had a half star! This was a well written and engaging book that follows the story of a young woman of means from Philadelphia during the time of World War I. Despite her parents’ protest, she is determined to contribute to the war effort and signs up to be a telephone operator with the Army. The book paints a fascinating picture of what the women telephone operators went through during World War I and their incredible contributions. And while I did find the book a bit long, I thoroughly enjoyed the time the book spent addressing the main characters post-war lives. The book had a good dose of romance which I personally don’t gravitate to. I did not find the book lacking in any way, but just simply not my personal preference. It certainly is a book I would easily recommend! I was honored to receive a free copy of this book from NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
LawladyCase 3 months ago
Girls on the Line By Amie Kay Runyan During World War I, women were regulated to rolling bandages and knitting socks. These mundane tasks were not sufficient for Ruby Wagner. She and thousands of other women apply to be Army Signal Call Operators. The few who are chosen, trained and sent to various spots were necessary to operate the wires for the servicemen. From the first line I was hooked. I cheered for Ruby when she chose to apply for the service and was chosen. Tears threatened when her brother, Francis, is killed and fell down my cheeks at other points throughout the story. All of the characters feel true and evoke emotions within the reader as if we were part of the story. The writing is rich and comfortable. The settings are readily formed within the mind and invoke the feeling that you are in France or training on a rooftop. I cannot praise this book more. I am mystified that it is fiction. It reads so true. The author did a fine job portraying the “Hello Girls.”
LGHudson 3 months ago
INCREDIBLY MOVING! Girls on the Line by Aimie K. Runyon is an incredibly moving novel about the trailblazing “Hello Girls” the nickname given the women operators in the Army Signal Corp in WWI. Ruby Wagner is already a trailblazer of sorts in that she works as a telephone operator and she’s engaged to the son of a well-connected family. Runyon’s exquisite historical fiction will take you on an emotional journey with Ruby as she leaves a life of privilege in Philadelphia, PA to serve her country after her brother dies in the war. She wants to serve so other families won’t have to lose sons, brothers or husbands. Ruby is sent overseas were she serves with a great group of other women who come from different backgrounds and a couple with early backgrounds in Canada. They quickly decided to pool their knowledge and hone their skills. They all understand they must work together as a team and do their very best to help get the correct information back and forth from headquarters to the front lines. Runyon has written a beautiful novel that delves into what real life in WWI must have been like as she envelopes you into Ruby’s story. It’s as though you become one of the characters yourself! You feel the tension the “Hello Girls” are under as they continue to connect calls while having to learn to learn new complex codes sometimes on a day’s notice. They go through all the rigors of war together as they are sent to the front. The girls truly become FAMILY. You can’t go through those life-changing experiences and not be drawn together. It makes you wonder how they will ever adjust once they get to go home. What about the these bonds they’ve formed? They’re not the same innocent girls they were when they left home! Ruby has changed the most. She has made the biggest decision to change everything about the plans her parents had planned for her future. She believes she found herself and her future while overseas. A story for the ages! I was provided an ARC of this book by Lake Union Publishers and NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
teachlz 3 months ago
Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “GIRLS ON THE LINE” By Aimie K. Runyan Aimie K. Runyon, Author of “Girls on the Line” has written an intriguing, intense, captivating, riveting, enthralling and amazing novel. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. There is a touch of Romance and Suspense. The timeline for this novel is around World War 1. The author describes her colorful cast of characters as complex and complicated, possibly due to the circumstances. I love that Aimie K. Runyon describes the importance of women and the part they played during World War 1. Although it will be many years until women were given the same benefits as the men in the army during war, I appreciate seeing that women were heroes, and worked in dangerous situations to save their country. One of the ways that women did help out was by being switchboard operators, and constantly manning the phones.Often they had to learn new codes. The women in this story had to know French, and wound up going to France. Ruby Wagner is one of my favorite characters in this story. She seems to exist in two types of life. One is the wealthy “line” in Philadelphia where she is engaged to a prosperous gentleman that belongs in her “circle”. After Ruby’s brother dies, Ruby is determined to do her part. The other “line” in World War 1, as an operator in horrible conditions, and in the way of bombing and fires. Ruby works hard, and becomes a supervisor, and has girls that have to follow her orders. Ruby has to follow orders as well, and at times it is difficult. Ruby is considered one of the “Hello Girls” and sent to France. She meets and makes friends. One of them is a medic that wants to become a physician. Will Ruby’s worlds collide? I recommend this novel for those readers who enjoy Historical Fiction. I appreciate the research that the author has spent hours and hours on. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
C_Fowler 3 months ago
Girls on the Line is a fascinating and well-written book about the "Hello Girls," the women telephone operators who served in the Army's Signal Corps in France during World War I. Communication between the front lines of battle and Army headquarters was vital to the war effort, and it was up to these brave women to ensure these communications were received and delivered. It centers on feisty Ruby Wagner, a member of Philadelphia's "Main Line," who has been serving as a telephone operator stateside as her contribution to the war effort, much to the chagrin of her very proper society Mother. When Ruby sees a notice looking for operators fluent in French to serve overseas, she applies, and much to her surprise, earns one of the coveted jobs. Against the wishes of her parents, she accepts the job and heads to the French battlefield with all the other operators who qualified. This book deals with the changing world brought on by the war, and the necessity of women taking wartime jobs instead of just volunteering for the Red Cross. Although women were already established as telephone operators, many considered it a bad decision to send them overseas, but Ruby and her co-operators proved them wrong. Not only were they more competent at answering and connecting calls, but their voices alone boosted the soldiers' morale. Aimie Runyon deals with a chapter of history of which I certainly was not aware, and after reading Girls on the Line, I am eager to learn more about these brave women who only recently received the recognition they deserve. I highly recommend this book, not just for its historical value, but because it is also a great story. I received an ARC of this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
lsmoore_43 3 months ago
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishers for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. I loved this book. From start to finish it captivated me. I never knew that women were involved in WWI. I learned a lot by reading this one. I have not read any with this time frame before and am very glad I read this one. It was the start of women being able to do things they were never allowed to do before. From the rich spoiled young women to the not so lucky young women, they were picked to run the communications part of this war. It’s obvious the author did great research with this book and captured how things were so well. It will make you feel like you are there. It’s well written with characters you will love and root for in many places. They endured a lot and came home heroes in my opinion. It was the beginning of women knowing that they can do things besides just get married and have babies. Or do things and be married and have babies. Women have come a long way since this time so we should be very grateful for their service at all times. I admire these women so much. This book touches on how things were for women and even the men during the war and also throws in a beautiful love story. I brought out lots of emotions in me and made me stop and think quite a bit. I love a book that has lots of things going on. It will keep you turning the pages and wanting more. I highly recommend this book and personally look forward to reading more by this author. I gave it a 5 star rating based on my honest opinion, the wonderful characters. The in depth research and all around good story. Well done.
CathyGeha 3 months ago
Girls on the Line by Aimie K. Runyan Having watched my grandmother work the hospital telephone switchboard when a teen I was eager to read a book that stars a switchboard operator. I learned more about the Hello Girls and their job in the war and found their work and lives interesting. The camaraderie, effort expended, socializing, people met, impact of war and loss and so much more were intriguing. Having been through a few wars myself I could also relate to those aspects of the story even though it took place one hundred years ago. I found the writing to be well done if a bit slow in some ways. It had the feel and character of the past and was an interesting read. Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4 Stars
PegGlover 3 months ago
Girls On The Line is a riveting well-written novel about the women in WWI, who made up the Army Signal Corps. Ruby Wagner’s family was part of Philadelphia’s elite class. Ruby found her prearranged life dull. She was to marry the man her father chose for her, and live as a wealthy society woman, hosting parties and supporting charities. But, Ruby wanted more. She wanted her life to count for something, especially after her brother died fighting the Germans in France. So, even though, Ruby’s parents and fiancé were against her joining the military. Ruby tested for the Army Signal Corps anyway. After being accepted, she was deployed overseas. It was in France where Ruby discovered what she really wanted in life. And, being married to a prominent wealthy gentleman, hosting balls and drinking tea was not it. Ruby was a talented leader. While in the military, she developed deep friendships, including a handsome medic, Andrew Carrigan. The author brings WWI to life with compelling scenes, rich historical details, and realistic, flawed, likable characters. This story is not just about war, but about choices, and its consequences, true friendship, and love. Girls On The Line celebrates the women telephone operators who received very little recognition after risking their lives and helping to end WWI. I thoroughly enjoyed this compelling book and highly recommend reading it. Thank you, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
lauriesophee 3 months ago
"The key to success doesn't lie in hard work alone, but more often in believing we are capable." Ruby Wagner has decided to join the Army Signal's Corps' and serve as an operator during World War I. She has resistance from family, but plunges forward to become a chief operator which eventually takes her to the front line of the war. Ruby's determination and resilience to find herself and be the woman she know she wants to be is evident. Written with amazing details, I felt as if I was actually there. I could heard the gunfire, felt the anxiety of the girls as they remained in the dark cabin during the nights, and and the distinct fear that came from outbreaks of disease in the camps. Although, a historical fiction,war story, it is so much more. It is a novel about true friendship, spirit, determination, romance and the strength of women fighting for their cause. This book will not be forgotten soon!