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Book was read in mid-'90s. Female main character was on a mission in space; she was either the pilot or gunner. She sings (unconsciously) under her breath in high stress/battles. She was very close with her crew - like family. Battle with pirates/aliens had the whole crew killed but her. She might have been out in a smaller fighter ship and that’s why she survived. I think she pushed to fight and that contributes to her survivor guilt. She is sent back to Earth and on leave or discharged. Pity party in her house listening to her mother’s Nina Simone records (might not be that artist, but I think it is). Man comes to get her to go back to space. Maybe because of aliens or revenge. He might be a love interest (if any romance was secondary to main plot). I remember thinking it was strange that records were still around in the story given how far along all the other technology was. I am not sure but I feel strongly the battle was with aliens and she might help to with first contact. Might be a part of a trilogy.

Skirmish (1985) by Melisa Michaels was suggested on another site - not it, but seems like it was probably published around this time.

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  • You could improve this question by going through the checklists here and editing in any relevant info you can think to add.
    – Valorum
    Jul 20, 2022 at 19:15
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    +1 Automatic upvote for working Nina Simone indirectly into a question. :D
    – Lexible
    Jul 20, 2022 at 19:16
  • Could it be Joe Haldeman's Forever War? main protagonist is male, but he and his wife fight in the war and both have most/all of their closely bonded crews killed. He does return to earth to fetch her and they sign up again.
    – bob1
    Jul 21, 2022 at 3:30
  • Sounds a bit like The Gap Sequence by Stephen Donaldson, but I can't find any reference to Nina Simone.
    – mwarren
    Jul 21, 2022 at 11:54

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