I would have never thought that I’d like reading Historical Fiction but it changed the moment I read the first chapter of this book. It was a pleasant surprise, since reading books set during wartime never interested me but Melina Druga really sparked my interest in historical fiction and now I want to read more (only if it was as good as this one).
Despite liking this book since the first chapter, I took a long time to read it. Many things came up in between but also, I had a little reading slump where I did nothing but watch Netflix. It’s now August, and I’m slowly trying to make time for reading as my TBR list keeps growing. It’s really getting out of hand but now, I have two weeks till the next semester so I hope to squeeze in time to read every day!
She had her entire life planned until the Great War began and everything changed.
April 1914. Barrie, Ontario. Hettie Steward is feisty, educated, ambitious and stubborn. Her fiancé, Geoffrey Bartlette, the love of her life since childhood, has been a patient man. He waited while she attended nursing school and worked a year, but now it is time to wed. While Hettie is thrilled to be starting her life with Geoffrey, she laments that marriage means sacrificing her beloved nursing career, and domestic life brings her nothing but drudgery and boredom.
When the Great War begins a few months into their marriage, Geoffrey enlists and persuades Hettie to join the Canadian Army Nursing Service and follow him overseas. After all, everyone says the war will be short, and it will be their opportunity to have a proper honeymoon. Returning to work is exactly what Hettie was craving, and she eager accepts.
The war, however, does not end quickly. Soon tragedy strikes, proving true the old adage “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” Geoffrey is killed at the Second Battle of Ypres, and Hettie is faced with a choice. Return home or stay in Europe and continue nursing? Moreover, will she discover the person she is meant to be now that her life has been steered onto a new path?
*a copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review
Life is too short to entertain such thoughts.– Melina Druga, Angel of Mercy
Angel of Mercy is an enjoyable book. I don’t often read Historical Fiction as some drag on and on to the point where I lose interest. But this, this book was amazing. Every scene had a purpose and not a single scene was boring. It really makes me want to read more Historical Fiction, especially if it is going to be as good as this.
The opening scenes were a little too fast for my liking. One moment Hettie was getting married, the next moment she was a nurse in the war, but I could tell that the author had other things she wanted to focus on but it also makes me unsure of what the future part of the story holds. It plays out really well, since at the start I couldn’t understand what would be so interesting about the life of a nurse while a war is happening, but oh I was so wrong.
Angel of Mercy shows the life of Hettie, a nurse who followed her husband into war. It focused on friendship, family, love and romance, but it also shows the horror of wars and sexism that reflected that era of time (and unfortunately now too but that’s a different matter). It also shows how war can really change someone, and how people deal loss differently. The writing was also easy to understand, which I find very important for a genre that I don’t often read.
My favourite part was how the story is sometimes told through letters sent by Hettie and family members to each other while they were apart. I’d like to say that it was a smart way to include depth into the story, but I don’t read enough of this genre to be able to judge. The author also includes a section at the end of the book explaining about the different wars and what had happened, which I appreciated. I don’t know much about Canada so this was a good way to start.
As someone who don’t often read Historical Fiction, or Romance, this was refreshing. It is a change from the genres I usually read but it is a change that is enjoyable and makes me want to read more.