Title: The Nightingale Girls
Publisher: Random House UK
Publish Date: Aug 16, 2012
Review Copy Provided By: Net GalleyThree 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.
Each girl is very different but over the course of the novel, they all become friends. In this book, you will find yourself really liking all the girls.
Dora is the east end girl, who wouldn't usually have made it to The Nightingale, but Matron saw something special in her.
Millie is an aristocrat that wants to be more than just someone's wife, but she has a bad habit of screwing up or getting mixed up with the wrong men
Helen is a goody two shoes, who is living in fear of her mother, who is on the board of trustees for the hospital.
Their different personalities are what make the story so entertaining, and each girl has a lot of things going on besides the day to day duties and classes at the hospital.
Helen is the only one that doesn't have anything horrible happen to her. Her mother may be controlling but that doesn't come near having a sexually abusive step father, like Dora, or the near fatal accident that Millie's dad suffers during this book.
Donna Douglas knows how to tug at your heartstrings too. When Blanche passes away during surgery, I admit, I crying like a baby. And when Helen found love with one of her former patients, I couldn't help but cheer for her.
This was a fantastic book and a great beginning to the series.
Rating: 5 flowers