Meh. That's about the best I can come up with. This book did nothing I hoped for when I
wanted it to. When I wanted more Bess...nothing. More nursing...Elspath gets kicked
out. (I'm sorry, that's not a spoiler. It was practically in neon lights from the moment she joined!)
Lady Elspath Douglas is in Paris keeping an old school friend company before the birth of her first child. Elspath's long had a crush on her friend's older brother, Alain, and he finally notices her...just as WWI starts. Our..."intrepid" hero's journey leads her across France in the early days, giving her the desire to become a nursing sister. But she's the ward of a very conservative uncle who'd never let her join - so she doesn't tell him and basically lies to get in. A love triangle develops...blah, blah, blah.
I wanted to like Elspath (though it could have been Bess!! Why wasn't it Bess?) but I never could quite connect with her. I think she's suppose to be independent and strong; I found her selfish and TSTL at times. She's suppose to be a great nurse; she lets worries and personal concerns take precedence. (I could talk here about the fact we've seen other nurses handle the same instances better...but that would make me sound like I'm blaming this character for not being the other one.) Elspath is suppose to be a character from an elevated position seeing the world change around her forever. She's shown to be okay with this; yet she flaunts rules, drops names and calls in favors, and seems to want the best of both worlds.
While I never thought Alain and her were a good match, I'm frankly left thinking Peter's too good for her. I think she's clearly on a path of growth but the problems is we see little of it. And she basically does one of the worse rebounds I've ever seen.
So...why am I giving this three stars? (I keep asking myself that very question.) In the end, the parts that worked...really worked. The historical aspects were well done and integral to the plot. They felt real and you could understand and feel them in a way it's difficult to in non-fiction. Some of the scenes where Elspath is growing and changing as her world changes around her are good and I absolutely loved the final part (where the story gets its name from).
Am I glad I read it? Yes and I will probably even buy an ebook copy of my own. Will I read it often?
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