For a change of pace my reading travels took me to Bethnal Green, London during the 1930s.
“The Nightingale Girls” follows three young nursing trainees. Amelia Benedict (Millie), daughter of an aristocrat who feels stifled with the life expected from her and wishes to stretch her wings. Dora, a girl from London’s East End who wishes to escape her life of drudgery and abuse. Helen, daughter of one of the hospital’s most demanding patrons, who is afraid of crossing her overbearing mother and feels shunned from the other girls.
A cross between “Call the Midwife”, “Downton Abbey” and “Eastenders” this novel will appeal to most Anglophiles. The story describes the girls hopes and dreams, their strict and arduous life at the Florence Nightingale Teaching Hospital, and their blossoming into adulthood and love. Remember, back then nurses had to live at the hospital. Single girls only. Any nurse who got married had to quit her training and any hope of a career.
“The Nightingale Girls“is part of a series of novels by Donna Douglas. I very much enjoyed following the girls through their first year of training and will definitely read another novel in the series to see what the future holds for them. My only disappointment was with the ending – which was too abrupt for my liking. I suspect the author ended the way she did deliberately so that readers would be more likely to follow the series.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ebook copy of this historical novel.