I’ve a great WWII book for you today. It has all the make up of a good book in this genre, plus a little bit more that makes it special.
An Angel’s Work by Kate Eastham
Jo forced herself to look into the cot, but at first all she could see was grey dust from the explosion. Then, a tiny hand poked out through a layer of grit. In seconds she had the child scooped up and she could feel its little body warm against her own. She felt an almost painful surge of emotion welling up from the pit of her stomach. With tears pouring down her cheeks, she stood rocking and soothing the baby, knowing there was very little chance the child’s mother had survived.
England, 1941. After three nights of relentless bombing from German aircraft, trained nurse Jo Brooks is told to report to the basement theatre of Mill Road Hospital. She goes with a heavy heart, not wanting to leave behind her best friend Moira, who is desperately soothing new mothers on the maternity ward. As Jo arrives safely underground, the ward takes a direct hit.
Pulling herself from the rubble, Jo’s first priority must be her patients… but she can’t stop herself frantically searching for Moira. When Jo eventually finds her, buried beneath a foot of bricks and stone, Moira is barely clinging to life. Jo makes a solemn vow: she will do whatever it takes to help the allies win the war, even if it means sacrificing her own safety.
The opportunity to make good on her promise comes sooner than she expects – nurses are badly needed to evacuate wounded allies across enemy lines. It will be dangerous, heartbreaking work and her life will be at risk every moment, but Jo knows that the moment has come to prove herself at last…
A powerfully emotional wartime novel about friendship and love in the most terrible of circumstances. Perfect for fans of Diney Costeloe, Jean Grainger and Soraya M. Lane.
I’m sure most of you know how books in this genre work: a somewhat romanticised story of the war with a love story, women chipping in to help the cause, and scenes of the men off fighting. However, An Angel’s Work is so much more than this. For one, the women, Jo and Mac, are the main characters and the bulk of their story is focused on their careers as nursing. In fact, most of the story is focused on nursing and the different types of nurses who were indispensable to the war effort: their love life was just a side area. How wonderful nurses are! Where would we be without them? The story of their massive effort during WWII was both engaging and adrenaline fuelling in this book. The author did a great job of visualizing what was happening at the hospital/army camps and I could really feel the emotions of everyone.
I really loved Jo and Mac. They were quite different from one another yet both strong, independent women. While it was nice to see through them themes of love, destiny, and faith, what they truly brought to this book was the theme of friendship. As An Angel’s Work scans the course of a few years we really see how relationships stand the test of time, not only in love as we are used to in this genre, but friendship too.
The only thing I would critique in An Angel’s Work is that the second half of the book did feel a bit rushed. Nevertheless, I admired the fresh approach the author took to this genre and I truly enjoyed the book overall.
An Angel’s Work by Kate Eastham is available to buy now.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.