This novel is based on sound research into the role of New Zealand nurses in the first world war, a subject I’ve not come across before. It includes the story of the sinking of the “Marquette”, which claimed the lives of ten New Zealand nurses and was the inspiration for the Nurses Memorial Chapel at Christchurch Public Hospital.
It’s fascinating to read of women’s experiences of the war in France, the horrific conditions they lived and worked under, and the incredible job they did tending the wounded and dying. Along with medical details, there”s romance here too, and glimpses into the earlier New Zealand lives of the main characters. This is part of our herstory that well deserves to be brought out into the light, and Maxine Alterio has done so in an engaging way.
“Of gruesome tasks they bore the brunt
while treating soldiers at the front.”