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The Nurses’ War by Victoria Purman -a review

the nurses warThe Nurses’ War by Victoria Purman

There is more than one way to fight a war…An extraordinary story of grit, love and loss, based on the true history and real experiences of Australian nurses in World War 1.

In 1915, as World War 1 rages in Europe and the numbers of dead and injured continue to grow, Australian nurse, Sister Cora Barker, leaves her home in Australia for England, determined to use her skills for King and country. When she arrives at Harefield House – donated to the Australian Army by its expatriate Australian owners – she helps transform it into a hospital that is also a little piece of home for recuperating Australian soldiers.

As the months pass, her mission to save diggers lives becomes more urgent as the darkest months of the war see injured soldiers from the battlefields of France and Belgium flood into Harefield in the thousands. When the hospital sends out a desperate call for help, a quiet young seamstress from the village, Jessie Chester, steps up as a volunteer. At the hospital she meets Private Bert Mott, a recovering Australian soldier, but the looming threat of his return to the Front hangs over them. Could her first love be her first heartbreak?

Cora’s and Jessie’s futures, their hearts and their lives hang in the balance as the never-ending wave of injured and dying soldiers threatens to overwhelm the hospital and the hopes of a nation rest on a knife edge. The nurses war is a war against despair and death, fought with science and love rather than mustard gas and fear – but can they possibly win it? And what will be the cost?

Published 30 March 2022|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

I enjoy a bit of war fiction now and then especially when featuring courageous women who defies conventions to serve during the war. I’ve also read most of Purman’s novels and have enjoyed most of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this one as much. In fact, I found it a bit boring though I’m not sure whether it’s just my terrible mood…

I love the characters in his novel. Both protagonists, Cora and Jessie, are remarkable women who grew and matured throughout all terribly heartbreaking events they went through and witnessed as they dedicated their time to this Australian hospital. I love all the secondary characters too from the happy-go-lucky Private Bert Mott to faithful Fiona. BUT they seem to just fade away… I mean what happened to Leonora and Fiona (nurse colleagues of Cora)? Surely letters were exchanged?!

Reading The Nurses’ War felt like I was reading some cross-sections of a nurse’s life during WWI with a bit of variety with a local girl’s life who got involved in caring for these soldiers. While I appreciate to “seeing” what it was like for them, I just felt the structure of the book to be somewhat untidy. The story didn’t flow for me which dulled my interest in reading. The ending was also a bit flat and rushed. As I enjoyed her previous books, this was a bit disappointing.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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