[Review] One Woman’s War: A Novel of the real Miss Moneypenny by Christine Wells

Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow. October 4, 2022.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 384.
Format: Advanced reader copy, e-book.
Source: I received a complimentary e-book copy from William Morrow and NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Historical fiction readers of World War II and Britain’s SOE.
Rating: Good.

Link @ Amazon to preorder the book.

Christine Wells’s Goodreads author page. Website/ Pinterest/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram.

Summary:

One Woman’s War is the story of two young women involved in spying and espionage for the British Government security service.

The women are Victoire “Paddy” Bennett and Friedl Stottinger. Paddy is English. Friedl is Austrian.

The women are as different in character as they are in looks.

The story begins in 1940 but will back up to 1937 to introduce Friedl’s story in 1937, Portugal.

Both women work for the security service, but one of them is working both sides.

My Thoughts:

Even though Friedl is not a likable character to me. She is an interesting character. She is a striking person as far as singing talent, beauty, well-traveled, and savvy. She knows the art of charm and persuasion in dealing with men. However, she fits the mold of a typical female spy. Whereas Paddy is the girl next door who is underrated in ability and possibly overlooked.

It is difficult to feel empathy for Friedl. She is a conner. A user. She is blackmailed into working the other side and for this I have a little sadness for her.

I don’t know if having two main female characters who are opposite work in this story because they are rarely together in order to show the strong differences. To my mind, a single story with Friedl as the main character will work well.

In Paddy’s story I see the civilian life in London during the war, especially the Blitz.

The story did not keep me on the edge of my seat.

It is a pleasing story in that it wraps up fine.

I just finished another story: D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose. This is narrative nonfiction and fabulous.

[Review] The Nurse’s Secret by Amanda Skenandore

Publisher and Publication Date: Kensington Publishing Corp. June 28, 2022.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 368.
Format: Paperback.
Source: I received a complimentary advanced reader copy from the publisher. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Historical fiction readers. Readers of nursing history in the 19th century.
Rating: Okay.

Amanda Skenandore’s author page at Goodreads.

Summary:

New York City. 1883.

Una is a young woman who is a thief. She knows the “art of the grift.”

When the story begins, she is arrested for a murder she had nothing to do with. She looks for a way to hide herself and make a living. She creates a new life in a new nursing school.

Nursing is a new choice for women who do not mind the hard work, and the respectable interaction of caregiving.

In the beginning, Una’s tough facade does not pair well with employers and nursing students who are from a society that frowns upon the criminal and the lower income.

After the murder of a patient, Una begins to wonder if her situation and the victims is related.

The Nurse’s Secret is a mix of 19th century nursing history, 19th century New York city history, murder/mystery, and romance.

My Thoughts:

I dislike the name Una. I googled the name. It is of Irish origin and means lamb. Other countries have the first name also. For example, Bosnia and Wales. Another definition of the name is unity.

Una is not a lamb. She is the opposite of a lamb in character.

Actually, I dislike her character. It made it difficult to care what happened. She comes across as having an attitude that people owe her. She is arrogant. Haughty. Cunning. Calculating. Manipulative. Selfish. Brazen. I saw a little transformation in her through the story but not enough for me to care. It was difficult to finish the book.

The murder/mystery is so so. There isn’t a shock about the solving of the murders nor the closure.

What I liked most about the story is learning about the nursing practices of this time period. This is fascinating history.

[Feature] The Nurse’s Secret by Amanda Skenandore

Publisher and Publication Date: Kensington Books. July 28, 2022.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 362.
Format: The book is available @ Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook.
Audience: The Nurse’s Secret is for readers of historical fiction who like a little mystery and suspense.

Available also @ Barnes and Noble/ Books-A-Million/ BookShop/ IndieBound/ Target/ Walmart.

About the Author:

Amanda is the author of Between Earth and Sky, winner of the American Library Association’s 2019 Reading List Award for Best Historical Fiction, and The Undertaker’s Assistant, released from Kensington in July 2019.

She grew up in the mountains of Colorado and sang and danced her way through 68 cities on both sides of the Atlantic with the service organization Up with People before starting college. Her love of historical fiction started early with the stories of Kenneth Thomasma, Mark Twain, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

When she’s not writing, Amanda works as an infection prevention nurse. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their pet turtle Lenore.

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Between Earth and Sky was her first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website at www.amandaskenandore.com. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterInstagramBookBub, and Goodreads.

Summary:

From acclaimed author and registered nurse Amanda Skenandore, The Alienist meets The Light of Luna Park in a fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America’s first nursing school, as a young female grifter in 1880s New York evades the police by conning her way into Bellevue Hospital’s training school for nurses…

In the slums of 1880s New York, Una Kelly has grown up to be a rough-and-tumble grifter, able to filch a pocketbook in five seconds flat. But when another con-woman pins her for a murder she didn’t commit, Una is forced to flee. Running from the police, Una lies her way into an unlikely refuge: the nursing school at Bellevue Hospital.

Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. Where once nurses were assumed to be ignorant and unskilled, Bellevue prizes discipline, intellect, and moral character, and only young women of good breeding need apply. At first, Una balks at her prim classmates and the doctors’ endless commands. Yet life on the streets has prepared her for the horrors of injury and disease found on the wards, and she slowly gains friendship and self-respect.

Just as she finds her footing, Una’s suspicions about a patient’s death put her at risk of exposure, and will force her to choose between her instinct for self-preservation, and exposing her identity in order to save others.

Amanda Skenandore brings her medical expertise to a page-turning story that explores the evolution of modern nursing—including the grisly realities of nineteenth-century medicine—as seen through the eyes of an intriguing and dynamic heroine.

Praise:

“A spellbinding story, a vividly drawn setting, and characters that leap off the pages. This is historical fiction at its finest!” – Sara Ackerman, USA Today bestselling author of The Codebreaker’s Secret.

Giveaway:

Enter to win a copy of The Nurse’s Secret by Amanda Skenandore!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on July 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Direct Link: The Nurse’s Secret.



[Review] The Light Attendant: A Canadian Bluebird Novel, Part One by Wendy Fehr

Publisher and Publication Date: ShiftersPress. February 17, 2022.
Genre: Historical fiction. War literature. Nursing history during World War I.
Pages: 303.
Format: Kindle e-book.
Source: I received a complimentary NetGalley Kindle e-book. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of war stories, World War I, and romance.
Rating: Excellent.

Link @ Amazon. The Kindle copy is $2.99.

Part Two of the book is @ this link: Amazon. It is $3.99.

Wendy Fuhr @ Goodreads.

Info on Wendy Fuhr at ShiftersPress/ Instagram/ Twitter/ Facebook.

Summary:

Two main characters: Henry Ryzak and Abbigail or Abbi Grieves. They are both from Canada. They were both raised on farms. Henry is the second son, and there is animosity between him and his father. Abbi and her father do not see eye to eye on a scheme her father has planned to involve her life and the farm.

A year after World War I begins, Henry’s older brother enlists. Henry enlists to keep watch over him.

Abbi talks her father in to letting her go to nursing school, but there is a requirement for her after returning. She must fulfill an obligation.

Abbigail finished nursing school and became a Canadian Nursing Sister or Bluebird for the war.

Abbi and Henry both experience the war but from different views and experiences.

Their lives will intersect, and first impressions will be different for both. However, war has a way of changing people.

My Thoughts:

I love this story! I have several reasons why I love it.

1. This story is what I had been looking for several months ago when I began to read a couple of other books about this historical event. I wanted to read about medical care for the injured during World War I. In one of the books, it seemed more focused on the extra activities of the medical personnel and the soldiers, rather than on their roles in the war. The other book gave me more knowledge about the physicians who operated on the injured. The Light Attendant shares the gritty details of what they actually did-on a daily basis, and during specific missions.

2. One of the reasons I love this story is that even though romance is a theme, it does not take away or distract from the events and personal experiences of war. What I mean is often when I read a book about two people who care for one another and they are both directly involved in the war effort, the romantic aspect totally shifts the story and can even hijack the overall story. The war then becomes a background, and this is never the reality during a time of war.

3. War is horrific, violent, lengthy, and damaging. People who are in a war, whether they are in combat or in direct contact with caring for the injured are changed. They cannot go back to the people they were before. This is never said in the story, but I can tell by the behaviors and developments of the characters.

4. Some things I’d never thought about that a soldier did. He learned to care for his own needs. For example, mend a torn shirt. This is a task their mother or wife or sister did. Now, they must do this type of thing. This is a personal but important example to share about the soldiers.

5. I learned that injuries and death is not always on the battlefield but is a result of accidents or negligence on the part of the soldier or another soldier.

6. I love that Abbi demonstrates that nursing is a skill, but it is also showing compassion, patience, and care to the injured.

7. I love the comparison stories of Henry and Abbi. He will share his story and then in the next chapter the same scene is shared but it is through Abbi’s eyes and thoughts.

8. I love reading how triage is handled by Abbi. She is thrust into this task without having done this before. And triage is probably not a word used at this point in history, but it is still an act that must be implemented.

9. I love stories that will give me a panoramic sweeping view of what is happening. In a war, during a battle, the story can take a reader up close, and it can shift away for the reader to see the larger scene taking place. The same can be said of a hospital tent or the injured laying on the grounds in front of a hospital. To me this is such an important structure for a story! It brings the scene to life in my mind.

I love this book so much I bought the 2nd part of Henry and Abbi’s story.

[Review] An Indiscreet Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Daughter by Georgie Blalock

Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. September 27, 2022.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 400.
Format: NetGalley, Kindle e-book.
Source: I received an advanced reader complementary Kindle e-book from NetGalley and William Morrow. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction and the royal family of England.
Rating: Good.

Pre-order @ Amazon.

Georgie Blalock’s Goodreads page. A bio is included.

Further links for Georgie Blalock: Website/ Instagram/ Pinterest/ Facebook.

To read more information about Joseph Edgar Boehm [1834-1890].

To read more information about Princess Louise – later Duchess of Argyll. A lot of advertisements at this site.

Summary:

Princess Louise was the 6th child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Three more children will be born to them.

Princess Louise was 13 when her father died.

She had the reputation as being a headstrong and defiant child. She was an artist; her medium was sculpture.

At the age of 22, she married John Campbell, the 9th Duke of Argyll. No children.

For a period of several years the couple lived in Canada where he was the Governor General.

In An Indiscreet Princess, the story begins when she is in her early twenties. She lives with her mother, Queen Victoria, who tries hard to keep a firm grasp on her daughter’s activities. Louise is resilient and equally firm in wanting to live a life beyond the reach of her mother. But Louise understands she will have to marry. There are certain standards and requirements she must obey.

The focus of the book is on Louise’s adult life, but the storyline follows the relationship she and Boehm have over a period of many years.

My Thoughts:

I read an advanced reader copy. There is only the story. There is not a chapter for Reader’s Notes telling me about the author’s research. There is not an Acknowledgement’s section either. So, I don’t know what books Blalock read or other types of factual history there is on Louise. I want to state this plain that it is a rumor that she and Boehm had an affair. There were other rumors of her as well. For example, a child possibly born to her when she was a teenager. But I don’t believe there is solid historical evidence in writings, etc., about her affair with Boehm. Maybe she did and maybe she did not. She was with him at his death, but it doesn’t mean they had an affair. Yes, this is a fictional account, but I still dislike.

Why do I mention the above? I kept thinking all through the story, I would hate it if someone wrote a book about me sharing untrue information. But if I am dead who can argue my case.

I will review on the book itself. But I did have to get the above off my chest.

In the story, Louise comes across as disrespectful to her mother. Yes, Victoria comes across as critical and domineering. And uses a strong hand (or tries to) with her children. Louise is still sneaky and disrespectful.

I love the focus of art. I too am an artist. I draw mainly. So, I enjoyed reading a book that has artistic qualities and characters.

Usually in a book there is a character or characters that I feel sorry for. That I feel something for. It was difficult to “feel” for these people who come across as snobby even though they see others as snobby they don’t realize it in themselves. As a result, the book was difficult for me to become invested in. I had (almost) an- I don’t care attitude.

The most touching scene in the book came at 81%. I don’t have a page number. It took that long for the story to touch my heart.

The book wraps up well and between that point and the previous mention of the touching scene my rating moved up to “good.”