Set in the early days of WW1 in Merseyside, Lancashire, this story follows the journey of Anna and Ellie, two young female nurses, who long to do their part to help in the war effort.
It’s a grim and difficult period for those left behind – the docksides dirty with coal and dust from railway locomotives and the gasworks; the tenements, factories, and alleyways, reeking of beer, tobacco, poverty and misery.
The second in the “Dockside Sagas” series, I read this book without having read the previous installment and had no difficulties following the continuing storyline.
With the help of their headstrong and tenacious “Aunt”, Lady Rowena Ashland, (also known as Ruby) the women secure resources and join the staff working to set up Ashland Hall as an auxiliary hospital for wounded and recuperating soldiers.
The story is told primarily in a variety of female voices, each depicting another perspective riddled with fear, hope, terror and anxiety associated with the war-mandated transcription of male husbands, fathers, sons and lovers – made acceptable against a backdrop of widespread community-generated fervor for the war effort which is buoyed by a shared (and deeply unsettling) abhorrence of those cowardly enough to not join in the fight.
Anna and Ellie’s journey, from somewhat naive but determined young women, brimming with “dockside toughness”, to compassionate shared survivors is interesting and the story told is rich with WW1 historic details and context.
Thank you to the author for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.
My stop today on the @rararesources #blogtour for “#TheMerseyAngels” by @SheilaRiley