Sisters of the Great War

Suzanne Feldman. Mira, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1122-5
A vivid WWI setting elevates the mostly predictable romance in Feldman’s tale of two sisters (after Absalom’s Daughters) who flee their oppressive Baltimore home to help the British on the Western front. In August 1914, nursing student Ruth Duncan longs to attend medical school, but her widower physician father refuses to allow it. An attraction sparks between Ruth and family friend John Doweling, a doctor who’s just enlisted with the British, and their relationship deepens through the letters they exchange as John trains for his medical deployment. Ruth soon volunteers along with her younger, mechanically inclined sister, Elise. They’re stationed in Belgium, where Ruth is assigned to a hospital near John, who supports her plan to become a doctor and finds ways to teach her physician-level skills, while Elise confronts the horrors of the battlefield as an ambulance driver and finds love with Hera Montraine, another female driver. As the war enters its final fierce months, John suffers a life-changing wound, which jeopardizes his future with Ruth. Elise and Hera, meanwhile, are discovered in a compromising situation, forcing Elise to decide how Hera will fit into her life. Feldman’s rendering of the Western front is unsentimental and unsparing, making this an effective war story despite the slow plot movement. This doesn’t break any new ground, but it does keep readers invested. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/16/2021
Release date: 06/22/2021
Genre: Fiction
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