Second in the 'War Nurses' series, which began with 'The
War Nurses', this account of a Chicago young woman who
finds herself with a boring life in London and a dull
marriage takes a few pages to grab our attention. But
there's a clue in the mention of May's grandmother who was
a nurse during the Civil War. In DAUGHTERS OF WAR, 1914
sees May Turner with growing daughters and an inattentive
husband, when news comes that Germany has invaded Belgium.
The newspapers are full of shock; the British troops took
horses, knives and bayonets, but faced industrial war on a
huge scale. May frets, wanting to help. At first all she
can offer is knitting. Then she gets more determined and
applies to the French Red Cross. They interview her for
something called the Voluntary Aid Detachment. They're
quite vague... deliberately it seems. This social butterfly
is about to get her hands very dirty.
The contrast with life near the troops could hardly be
greater, with many ethnic groups, uniform dress and no
luxuries. 1915 is a real awakening for this young and
determined woman. As the war drags into years, servicemen,
motors, musical shows and -- of course -- tragedies crowd her
life. When she can, May goes home to see her daughters at
boarding school. From time to time life brings her
happiness, but even this is precarious in wartime.
I found this an enjoyable and detailed look at social
classes and service, with women's priorities and personal
growth to the fore. We come to realise that May is
representative of all women of her day, capable of doing so
much more than society had believed. Lizzie Page was born
in England and travelled for work, before settling down to
write. DAUGHTERS OF WAR will be enjoyed by readers who like
social history and unusual, understated romances.
As a teenager in Chicago, May always dreamed of
travelling the world. So when she falls in love with
George Turner, she can’t wait to return to London as his
wife. Two beautiful daughters follow, but George isn’t the
husband he promised to be. Ten years on, May is wondering
if she’s made a terrible mistake.
The Great War has been declared in Europe, and all
around, brave young men are being called up to serve.
George, banned from conscription himself, has taken to the
bottle, and May suspects he’s seeing other women too. He
even sends her beloved daughters away to school. She misses
them terribly every day.
Then May meets veteran nurse Elsie, who persuades May to
join the war effort. May knows nothing of nursing – it will
be difficult, dangerous work, but her heart is telling her
it’s the right thing to do and the only way to carve out a
life for herself and her daughters away from George.
But when George does the unthinkable, May’s children are
put at risk. Miles away on the front line and unable to
reach them, will May be reunited with her little girls
before it’s too late?