Three very different girls sign up as student nurses in 1936, while England is still mourning the death of George V. Dora is a tough East Ender, driven by ambition, but also desperate to escape her squalid, overcrowded home and her abusive stepfather. Helen is the quiet one, a mystery to her fellow nurses, avoiding fun, gossip and the limelight. In fact she is in the formidable shadow of her overbearing mother, who dominates every aspect of her life. Can a nursing career free Helen at last? The third of our heroines is naughty, rebellious Millie an aristocrat on the run from her conventional upper class life. She is doomed to clash over and over again with terrifying Sister Hyde and to get into scrape after scrape especially where men are concerned.
This utterly delightful novel brings a London pre-war hospital vividly to life.
The Nightingale Girls,
A great story; I hated to see it end. Looking forward to reading more of the Nightingale Girls books.
The Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas is the first book in The Nightingale series. It is 1934 in London. A new group of nursing students are ready to start at the Nightingale Teaching Hospital (very prestigious). Matron Kathleen Fox is new to the position and she is what they call a “modern” nurse. Veronica Hanley is a little resentful. Hanley is the assistant matron and thought she would get the matron position when it became available. Dora Doyle is one of the new students. Dora is from the East End (a working class section of London) which is unusual for a student of the Nightingale (most of their students are from upper class families). Dora wishes to have a better life and to escape her step-father, Alf. Lady Amelia Charlotte Benedict or Millie is going to be redoing her initial twelve-week training period (just because she spilled a solution on a judge during the final test). Millie’s grandmother wants her to get married and provide an heir for the family estate. Millie wants to do something useful and her father supports her decision. Millie, though, also believes in living life to the fullest and loves to sneak out at night (which gets her in trouble). Helen Tremayne is also a student at the school. She is the daughter of Constance Tremayne who is on the Board of Trustees. Mrs. Tremayne expects her daughter to become a nurse (even though this is not what she wanted) and to behave in a certain way. Nursing is not an easy profession. It involves quite a bit of studying and a lot of hard, dirty work. Will these girls have what it takes to make it?
The Nightingale Girls takes us back to a different time. My interest was captured immediately and was held throughout the whole book. I did not want the book to end (and was glad to find out that there are more books in the series). The Nightingale Girls has interesting characters from different walks of life. I give The Nightingale Girls 5 out of 5 stars. It is written in a nice, easy to read style. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series. This is a British novel so there is some British words (slang) and phrases that you may not be used to, but they can usually be understood within the context of the sentence (or paragraph). I did not feel it took away from the story in any way (actually enhanced it).
I received a complimentary copy of The Nightingale Girls from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.