by Becky H (Chicago): Powerfully written and exhaustively researched, this lightly fictionalized account of the Smith College Relief Unit that assisted French villages decimated by Germany during WWI is an exciting tale of daring do. The Smith Unit, made up of recent graduates of Smith College, were young women mostly brought up to be wealthy, pampered society darlings. They were inspired by a visionary speech and formed a unit that soon found them living in filthy, bombed out buildings and working in dangerous, frontline areas of France. Willig used the Smith College archives to find the families (and occasionally the women themselves) of the Unit. She had access to letters and diaries written by the women as they toiled in France. The book uses these intimate writings to flesh out the women and tell of their deeds as the women lived them. The women and villagers come alive on the page. A wonderful book well worth your time. 5 of 5 stars