Tuesday 12 November 2013

The Nightingale Nurses by Donna Douglas

'Pay attention please, nurses. The next six months will be the most important of your lives' 
It's the final year of training for three young nurses at The Nightingale Hospital. 
Helen is at a crossroads in her life as she battles with her domineering mother over both her love life and her future career. 
Dora can't stop loving Nick, who is married to her best friend, Ruby. But Ruby is hiding a dark secret with the potential to destroy Ruby's marriage. 
Millie is anxious about her fiance, sent to Spain to cover the Civil War, and things only get worse when she encounters a fortune teller who gives her a sinister warning. 
With war looming in Europe, and the East End of London squaring up to the threat of Oswald Mosley's blackshirts, the women of the Nightingale have to face their own challenges, at work and in love.

Published by Arrow Books on 24 October 2013; The Nightingale Nurses is the third in this series from Donna Douglas, following The Nightingale Girls (August 2012) and The Nightingale Sisters (April 2013).

Although The Nightingale Nurses can most certainly be read as a stand-alone novel, and the author gives enough background information to enable new readers to enjoy the story, I would definitely recommend that you read the first two books in the series first.

Once again Donna Douglas has produced a warm and quite captivating story featuring Helen, Dora and Millie; three student nurses who are from very different backgrounds but have found themselves living and working together for the past three years.

It is the final year of what has been three incredibly tough years, both professionally and personally for each of the girls.  Helen is still dealing with her overbearing Mother, a woman who cannot help but interfere in Helen's life.   Dora is distraught, her one true love is now married to her best friend and Millie is worried about her reporter boyfriend Seb who is overseas covering war stories.

The detail in this story is excellent, from the fashion, to the workings of a hospital to the political tensions caused by Moseley's 'Blackshirts' - the reader is firmly thrust into this changing world which is brought to life quite brilliantly.

I have really enjoyed the development of the characters in the Nightingale series, not just the three leading nurses, but the supporting cast has grown too.   It is probably Helen's mother who is the surprise of this story, still domineering and still obnoxious, but her past is gradually revealed to the reader which adds another dimension to both her character and the plot line.

Drama, love, laughter and many tears.  A finely tuned plot and some larger than life characters.  The Nightingale Nurse is a fine addition to the series and is my favourite so far.  I do hope that Donna Douglas will be writing more about the girls, I'm really keen to know where they go next.

My thanks go to the author and the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Donna Douglas has written a short Christmas story set in the Nightingale hospital which is published (ebook only) on 14 November;  A Child Is Born: A Nightingales Christmas Story.  50% of the royalties are being donated to  Cavell Nurses’ Trust.

Christmas Eve, 1936
On a foggy December night, a pregnant woman walks out in front of a trolley bus and is knocked unconscious.
She is rushed to the Nightingale hospital, and a healthy baby is delivered. But the mother claims to have lost her memory, and cannot believe that the child is hers.
It seems that the Nightingale nurses may need to perform a Christmas miracle.

Donna Douglas lives in York with her husband and daughter.  Besides writing novels, she is also a very well-respected freelance journalist under her real name, Donna Hay.  
For more information on Donna; 
please visit her blog; donnadouglasauthor.wordpress.com/ or follow her on Twitter @donnahay1

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