by Gill Paul
Publisher: AVON, division of HarperCollins
Page Count: 400
Release Date: July 2, 2015
How got: free e-copy from NetGalley
First attention getter: a time period/historical event not often portrayed in HF
All’s fair in love and war …
1854. England is in the grip of a gruesome war.
Lucy Harvington, ill-educated beyond how to be a wife, has travelled to the Crimea with her handsome and impetuous officer husband Charlie. As the day of battle dawns she can only pray her husband survives. If he doesn’t, what will become of her?
Dorothea Gray, volunteer nurse at the Westminster Hospital, is determined to follow her little sister Lucy to the front, and to serve her country alongside her heroine, Florence Nightingale, and the pioneering nurses already risking their lives.
But neither sister could possibly have known the horrors they are about to witness – the courage, the cowardice, the danger – and the excitement – nor could they have guessed the risks they must take, the passion they will taste, and the simple fact that they may never see one another again …
If you love POLDARK, Gone With The Wind or the storytelling of Victoria Hislop, this is the perfect summer escape for you.
NO PLACE FOR A LADY is a beautiful story you will never forget.
Star Rating - 4.5
Most definitive statement for the historical research that went into this book: Holy carp!! There is a ton of information that serves as a background for this story of two sisters and their relationship during one of the Crimean War. Everything from horrifying details on battle and carnage to everyday life in hospitals and military camps to the glittering world of Constantinople and the seedy underbelly of that same city find their way into this book. I literally was learning as I read, and I love that in historical fiction.
I do have to give the author kudos for not being afraid to explore dark material as well as the general historical story. From just jaw-dropping carnage at Dorothea's hospital to the emotional turmoil on the soldiers and those experiencing the shells and death, this story covers it all and makes the reader think. I was especially touched at how the author portrayed PTSD and the depression present in the soldier population. It really made me think about our modern soldiers and what they're going through.
At first, I wasn’t that thrilled with out two sister leads. I felt they were almost stereotypical or caricatures of female roles in the mid-1850s, something I loathe with a vengeance. However, once the story gets rolling and the events start slamming our girls, I grew to love them more and more. They both mature and change their life outlooks as the war and story progresses. I found myself engrossed with their growth as chapters flew by.
Lucy’s and Dorothea’s relationship is the heart of the story; seeing how it develops and changes as the months go by kept me enthralled. The war changed both of them; the reader can see that reflected in how both girls’ views changed about each other. Lucy starts to view Dorothea as more than just someone trying to butt into her life as a bossy pseudo-mother. Dorothea starts to see the intelligence and maturity that Lucy possesses deep down as she deals with tragedy after tragedy.
At first, I was going to rate this book lower due to how much I was gritting my teeth in the beginning over the girls’ characterization. Yet, as the story progressed into the Crimea and the war story really got rolling, my adoration of the book rose and rose. The author’s attention to detail/research shines through, and her attention to the girls’ and their relationship is just astounding. I would recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction, as it’s topnotch, and I look forward to delving into more of the author’s HF!
Note: Book received for free from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.