by Teresa Messineo
Publisher: William Morrow
Buy the Book: HarperCollins
Goodreads: In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.
Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.
When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.
Kritters Thoughts: There are many books about World War II so it takes a bit for a book to be unique and interesting and to set itself apart from the pack - this one did. With two storylines that center around woman working in the war as nurses in two different places at the same time. Jo gets stranded in a medical tent with 6 (I think) wounded and must really make do to survive. Kay becomes a POW in a Japanese camp and must not only live the life of a POW but also still serve as a nurse - her story was harder to read.
Jo was my favorite storyline to read, it was so interesting to have her working but without an easy access to supplies. I loved seeing her fight for her patients and it could have been its own book. Kay's story was hard as I said earlier. The POW conditions partnered with her still trying to work as a nurse were just hard, but necessary. I am glad her story wasn't the whole book and I don't know that I physically could have handled it, but partnered with Jo's I enjoyed.
I do wish there was more at the end, don't want to spoil, but I could have enjoyed a little more after the war ends. Going to keep that thought short and simple!
I enjoyed this debut and will add this author to my ones to watch list.
Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.