I love a good WWI or WWII story, most especially those involving nurses. What brave, incredible women they were, going overseas to face the unknown and help in any way they can, watching so much suffering and pain. This was no disappointment in that aspect. The story of the nurses is here, from training to washing their hair in helmets, to shell-shocked patients, to the sound of bombs, the collapsing of tents, the lack of supplies...
And added into the mix is some romance, conflicting emotions about the people left behind in America, friends, and a doctor killing himself with drink. I kinda liked the story there, kinda. I mean, I couldn't help but feel bad that the doctor is portrayed so badly when really, he's just a man with PTSD. You don't have to be on the battlefield to deal with that. I could understand why he was drinking...but I digress.
Actually, that brings me to my quibble. There were some great opportunities to expand this novel with the secondary characters and I feel the story was weak in that way. It kept introducing us to all these people with what could have been amazing side stories and plots and really barely touched upon them. Lex and the Lafayette Esadrille. The doctor and his decline. The one nurses who for some reason balks at marrying a French comte. What was going on there? Why mention it all if it doesn't really add to the story?
My second quibble is the romance. It appears out of thin air. Why do they love each other? What do they see in each other? She nurses his wounds, maintains a professional demeanor though she finds him handsome, shares a single dance with him in which she tries to ignore he's so handsome...but suddenly she's madly in love with him and he her?
That came from nowhere. The romance development is poor. Also, there is no complicated love triangle here. Not that I wanted one, but the story makes it sound like one is coming and the cover is a tad suggestive of one. Just throwing that out there.
But all that aside, I did love this heroine. I love the way she takes over the surgery, the way she makes demands for her patients (chocolate is important!!!), the way she puts the other nurses in their places when they get depressed, how she sticks up to her mean aunt. There was a lot to like about her, especially what she does in the end. Thumbs up to you, lady.
Conclusion: Could have used better development of side stories, secondary characters, and romance, but is a very nice tribute to the nurses who dedicated their time and lives in this war.
Even here we've seen that a woman must have equal status with a man. If she is denied that, everyone loses. And people can die from the failures to ensure it.
I received this via Netgalley.