With Anzac Day approaching we celebrate and remember those who have fought in all wars to protect our country Australia.
Set in 1915 this book follows the lives of two sisters, Sally & Naomi Durance. Originally from the Australian country town of Kempsey, both girls find their way into World War I as nurses and join the war effort. The story captures the history of WWI vividly and written from the nurses perspective rather than the soldiers’ point of view.
They face the challenges of nursing in war zones and the difficulties faced by the injured men not only in The Dardenelles in northwestern Turkey, but the Greek Island of Lemnos and on to the Western Front in France.
Thomas Keneally is a great author. His well known book Schindler’s Ark won the 1982 Booker Prize and was adapted into the movie Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg. He weaves fact with fiction to provide a story that at times can be brutal and graphic as he describes the use of gas in warfare and shell-shock but it is certainly spell binding.
I would definitely encourage you to read this book, especially if you have limited knowledge of WWI, especially from the Australian involvement. It is quite long but I never wanted to put it down and if I did it kept drawing me back.
I liked it because it was from a different perspective and I certainly respect and admire not just the soldiers but also the nurses, doctors and orderlies who had to work in appalling and dangerous conditions.
I close with the Ode of Remembrance:
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”
Have you read this book? I’d like to hear your comments.