AUTHOR: Soraya M. Lane
TYPE: Women’s Historical Fiction
AVAILABLE @ Amazon
REVIEWER: Pistol Annie
RATING: 4 Stars
London, 1944. Two young nurses meet at a train station with a common purpose: to join the war effort. Scarlet longs for the chance to find her missing fiancé, Thomas, and to prove to her family—and to herself—that she’s stronger than everybody thinks. Nursing is in Ellie’s blood, but her humble background is vastly different from Scarlet’s privileged upbringing. Though Ellie puts on a brave face, she’s just as nervous as Scarlet about what awaits them in France.
In Normandy, the two friends soon encounter the seemingly unflappable Lucy. Scarlet and Ellie are in awe of her courage and competence, but the experienced nurse is well aware of the dangers of the job they’ve chosen—and even she is terrified they won’t make it home alive.
Pushed to their limits by the brutality of a world at war, Scarlet, Ellie and Lucy will need to rely on each other—and the power of their friendship—to survive.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, let me emphasize that this book is categorized as “FICTION.” There may be some readers that take issue with the extent to which the author has taken liberties with the historical details — but I still found its message to be an interesting journey back in time to the days of those brave warriors who have been pronounced by many as the “greatest generation.”
And secondly, after reading several reviews comparing Wives of War to a “hallmark romance,” I felt the need to clarify that I happen to enjoy a weekend visit to the Hallmark Channel. Yes, they are clean as a whistle, but they always carry a nicely wrapped message to pass along that brings no harm to anyone.
I’m a sucker for a good WWII romance, and the cover on this book immediately drew my attention. After reading the book blurb, I one-clicked hoping for another winning historical fiction from this era. And, indeed, I found exactly that.
A character-driven novel cast against the backdrop of World War II, portraying three young British women who, for very different reasons, train and volunteer for service as battlefield nurses during the days just prior to D-Day until the end of World War II. The story is told from the perspective of each of the three main characters. The landing on Normandy was especially meaningful for me because, throughout my life, I’ve heard my dad tell his stories of driving his tank onto the beach and into hell where he lost his best friend that day. The author maps the progression of the friendships between the three strangers, their triumphs over fears they never imagined, and finally their own personal love stories found on war torn battlegrounds. I loved getting acquainted with Scarlet, Ellie and Lucy, and I was captivated with each one’s background, upbringing and motivation.
Scarlet reigns from wealth. Her family is unhappy with her decision to join the war efforts. With her fiancé missing in action, she hopes that being closer to the frontlines will aid in finding him. From a more modest background, Ellie is a charming Irish lass, who is kind-hearted and giving. Lucy hides behind a tough exterior and is a hard worker, strong and smart.
The storyline is predictable but still captivating. Romance is central to the story and passionately written, but the non-explicit sex scenes shouldn’t offend anyone. The writing style is straightforward. And that may have been purposely planned regarding the time period, setting and nature of the matters at hand. The pacing was even and moved along at a nice clip. Characterizations could have been developed a bit stronger in my opinion.
Oh sure, in some cases there was a necessity to stretch the imagination regarding the cases of insta-love matches and BFF (best friends forever) from the start. Most times, those are far-fetched. And yes, there were some historical inaccuracies – but I warned you that this isn’t a textbook, but fiction. All in all, I enjoyed reading this nicely put together saga that perfects the blending of sadness and joy, loss and growth, with friendship and love.