Mrs. Lieutenant: A Women's Friendship Novel

General Fiction

By Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Publisher : BookSurge

ABOUT Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Phyllis Zimbler Miller
I am the author of several books and ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK.  See
In addition, I am the co-founder of Miller Mosaic LLC, an online marketing company that works with authors and bu More...




When newly married Sharon Gold suddenly finds herself in the unfamiliar culture of the U.S. Army during the unpopular Vietnam War, she realizes she must quickly adapt to this alien world. If she does not learn to "fit in," the consequences could have a severe impact on her husband.

The women's friendship she unexpectedly experiences turns out to be her lifesaver.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books, which can be viewed on Amazon at

In 1992 an imprint of a major publishing house brought out my Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION written with Rabbi Karen Fox. Some time later I unsuccessfully struggled for years to get a traditional publisher interested in my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT. Then as I approached my 60th birthday I decided I couldn’t wait any longer for a publisher to say yes to me. I went the self-publishing route with Amazon’s print-on-demand unit BookSurge. And right then MRS. LIEUTENANT was selected as a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finalist, which did encourage me that I was on the right track. I felt so strongly about this book because it is based on my own experiences as a new Mrs. Lieutenant in the spring of 1970 during the Vietnam War. I wanted to share with people who do not have a close connection with the military a story about that special community. And, yes, there are many parallels between the U.S. today and the U.S. in 1970.

5.0 out of 5 stars Best read in years., June 9, 2008
By Jan Reesman "Jan Reesman" (Beverly Hills) -
This book was a wonderful. I could not put it down. I cared about each women. The author kept us involved with the time in history and the struggles of the era for women and minorities. I HIGHLY recommend this novel.

by Allan Tobin
I missed the draft (being a bit older), but I was a tutor in one of the Harvard houses as the war heated up, and people had to make choices about their routes of service (including the self-styled "yellow berets" that you pointedly portray at Fort Knox, though most of the MDs I knew went to NIH).

In 1970, at the time the book is set, I was a postdoc at the Weizmann Institute, and as Robert was turning on the radio to hear the latest in the war of attrition, I was daily exposed to the hourly newscasts in the Weizmann cafeteria, but had to find the BBC to hear about Vietnam and the antiwar protests, including Kent State.

So the book brought me back to those times, and to being a young married person (at the time to my now-ex-wife), listening to the slightly older folks talking about babies and daycare in a way that I never imagined would ever really touch me. Interesting how time catches up with us!

Of course, I loved Sharon and Robert, and I bite my tongue not to ask the usual questions. But all the characters seemed real and sympathetic, even poor Jim. I did wonder, though, whether my
20-something contemporaries in 1970 would have been able to be as understanding as your characters were. One would have hoped so.

On the other hand, maybe the intensity of the life you portray (and that you lived), with its ultimate high stakes, did make your characters a lot wiser than I remember having been.

I loved the way that you have weaved the four cultures of the heroines -- and not just them but also their common culture clash with the day-by-day news and the Mrs. Lieutenant manual. It's almost incredible that such a manual existed in that time (though I still do read Miss Manners
from time to time, rather more sympathetically than I would have expected).

You've done a wonderful job conveying the disconnects of the women's worries, the men's fears, the greenness of their relationships (especially concerning sex and sexual jealousy), and the difficulty that they all had -- with each other and with their husbands -- in talking about feelings.

What an accomplishment!

by Anna L. Horner
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet Heroism, July 29, 2008
By Anna L. Horner "Diary of an Eccentric"
Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel follows four women who spend nine weeks in Fort Knox, Kentucky, as their husbands complete Armor Officers Basic (AOB) training. The book takes place in early 1970, just after the Ohio National Guard kills several Kent State University students during the volatile times of the Vietnam War.

The women are as different as night and day: Sharon, a Jewish anti-war protester from Chicago; Kim, a white Southern Baptist from North Carolina whose rough childhood causes her to cling to her jealous husband; Donna, a Puerto Rican coping with the shift from being the daughter of an enlisted man to the wife of an officer; and Wendy, a black woman from South Carolina who confronts the harsh realities of racial discrimination for the first time.

As a former Mrs. Lieutenant herself, Phyllis Zimbler Miller writes from experience, and that experience shines through in a moving novel that showcases the struggles of officers' wives during the Vietnam War. Zimbler Miller does a great job showing the fears of these women as they contend with the fact that their husbands likely will go to war. I could feel their fears myself, and had my own husband not left the National Guard several years before we married, they might be fears I'd know first hand right now.

I've read novels about serving in the war and the psychological impact of the war on returning soldiers, but until Mrs. Lieutenant, I never read a book about the wives of those men who served. Zimbler Miller's novel is important because it preserves a part of our history, a part that often is overlooked. She also does a marvelous job detailing the anti-war sentiment, racial and religious discrimination, and social divisions within military ranks. Not only did I enjoy reading each woman's story, but I also learned a lot about the military and the expectations of officers' wives.

Zimbler Miller begins each chapter with a snippet of news from the time period, as well as a quote from Mary Preston Gross' Mrs. Lieutenant, a sort of etiquette book for officers' wives. The women are expected to learn how to properly write and respond to invitations, as well as how to serve tea, among other things. Such things are important, given that the quote on the first page of the novel states that the government gains both the officer and his wife. In addition to dealing with fears of their husbands' deployment, the women must contend with secrets from the past and how their actions could help or hinder their husbands' military careers. They are thrust together to plan the entertainment portion of the AOB officers' wives' graduation luncheon, and they quickly form a strong bond because, no matter the differences of race or religion, they understand one another.

In Mrs. Lieutenant, Zimbler Miller has created a cast of strong female characters. In the face of a decision that could mean life or death for their husbands, they do not crumble. Their fear might cause them to waiver or break down, but they rise up again. They have no other choice. Sharon says it best on page 453: 'There's such a thing as quiet heroism. The kind that doesn't bring attention to itself. The kind that just does a good job.'