Under the Cover of Mercy
by Rebecca Connolly
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Pub Date 11 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 25 Apr 2023
Shadow Mountain Publishing, Shadow Mountain
The Great War has come to Brussels, the Germans have occupied the city, and Edith Cavell, Head Nurse at Berkendael Medical Institute, faces an impossible situation. As matron of a designated Red Cross hospital, Edith has sworn an oath to help any who are wounded, under whatever flag they are found. But Governor von Lüttwitz, the ranking German officer, has additional orders for her. She and her nurses must also stand guard over the wounded Allied prisoners of war and prevent them from escaping.
Edith feels that God called her to be a healer, not a jailer. How can she heal these broken boys, only to allow them to be returned to the hands of their oppressors to be beaten again?
So when members of the Belgian resistance, desperate for help, bring two wounded British soldiers to her hospital in secret, she makes a decision that will change everything: she will heal the soldiers, and then attempt to smuggle them out of the hospital to freedom.
With her loyal friend and fellow nurse, Elizabeth, by her side, Edith establishes her hospital as a safe house for the resistance, laboring tirelessly to save as many soldiers as she can. Working under the watchful eyes of the German army, Edith faces challenging odds and charges of treason—which carries the death penalty if she is caught—as she fights alongside the resistance to bring—and keep—hope to her small corner of a war-torn world.
Based on a true story, Under the Cover of Mercy is the remarkable account of one woman who defied an entire nation in order to heal those who needed her help the most.
"Remarkable tale. Christian-and historical-fiction readers alike will devour this fast-paced novel of faith and bravery."
"Remarkable tale. Christian-and historical-fiction readers alike will devour this fast-paced novel of faith and bravery."
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 127 members
How one woman changed WWI
“Think of me only as a nurse who tried to do her duty.” That is how Edith Cavell, an English woman in Belgium during WWI, wanted to be thought of. No one special. No special talent. Just a nurse trying to do her duty to all needing help. Based on the true story of Edith Cavell this book lets you glimpse into the struggles and hard questions she was forced to address when the Germans invaded and took control of Belgium. Being the matron of a Red Cross Hospital entailed not only running the hospital itself but teaching and supervising nurses and nurse trainees. Now with the invasion and occupation new and dangerous responsibilities were added. They would treat the enemy soldiers but what of the other side’s soldiers, some of whom had escaped detection? Who can be trusted and who needs protection? Through her choices things were put in motion that had a profound impact on the war. A sometimes intense read that is well worth your time and the introspection it brings with it. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy. This is my review and all thoughts are my own.
This is the story of one of the most well-known tragedies of WWI. Astonishing at the time, it echoed around the world at the cruelty and poor judgement of the treatment of this famous nurse. If you have or have not heard of Edith, whichever it is, you must absolutely read this stunning, heartbreaking novel. You will witness the courage and the compassion this woman had in nursing the injured, no matter which side they fought on. She was an unprecedented woman who showed that underneath the uniform is a suffering human, not an enemy. Excellently researched and well-written, this is a book that will stay with you a long time. EXCELLENT!
UNDER THE COVER OF MERCY by REBECCA CONNOLLY is a beautiful tribute to Edith Cavell, a devoted Christian who helped save the lives of about two hundred allied soldiers by nursing them back to health and passing them on to members of the Belgian resistanceq in order for them to escape the Nazis during the first world war.
The book is both stimulating and sad as we are drawn into Edith, and her friend Elizabeth’s, stories.
There is betrayal, danger, sadness, fear and joy as Edith and her band of nurses give their all to save lives, against the horrific background of the Belgian occupation in 1915.
I like to see how Edith brought encouragement wherever she was and treated all the wounded with grace and compassion, whether they were ally or enemy.. In fact, her tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt led to some hair raising situations! Her fierce love for her friends and those she worked with, and the responsibility she felt to keep them out of danger, led to exhaustion, which worried her friend and confidant Elizabeth: who helped wherever possible. Edith’s strength came from her close relationship with the Lord as she walked in His footsteps.
I highly recommend Under the Cover of Mercy as an exciting and worthwhile read.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Shadow Mountain Publishing. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
Rebecca Connolly has done it again! This was stunning. The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were well-developed; complex, and intriguing. I highly recommend this beautiful telling of the power of friendship and love. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
This book gives the reader a glimpse into the life of Edith Cavell and her time with the Red Cross during WWI. It is a well-written, interesting story, and it inspired me to continue reading about Edith and her work with the resistance.
this was a beautifully done story, it was what I was hoping for in a historical novel. I loved the concept and the time-period going on, it was what I was hoping for. The characters worked in this time-period and were really well written. I enjoyed the way Rebecca Connolly wrote this, and am excited to read more from her,
"He snorted a soft laugh. “I’ve already told you what we know, Miss Wilkins. We’ve had Quien and Jacobs in your clinic, passing through as soldiers, and they have reported everything to us. Your confession will not be telling us anything we do not already know.”
This was a great book of how nurses helped people during a wr to get people better. It shows if you work together you all will be OK. This book was approved by netgalley and the publisher.
First I want to thank Netgalley for the ARC of this one. I was so excited when I was approved as this as been on my radar for a while.
Here is a well researched, human portrait of Edith Cavell. Edith is a martyred character from WWI, killed by the Germans for treating and rescuing hundreds if not thousands of allied soldiers. But what makes her story so unique is that she also treated with equal vigor German soldiers. So her death was a catalyst for an international outcry against German brutality, to the point that even the Kaiser himself was disturbed (reports say).
Why its taken this long for someone to try to capture Edith in historical fiction I can only guess. She is not a particularly exciting character, she is not complex. She is simply good. She lived her life by a strict set of values. She had high expectations for herself, but she didn't impose those on anyone else. So in that respect I can see why a real honest depiction of her would be somewhat dull. I did not find this dull however.
Edith Cavell has been a source of propaganda since her execution, and that has made her a larger than life persona. While the real person has largely been lost to history. I loved this book for bringing her to life, in an honest way. This books deals with Edith and her closest companions (nurses) it doesn't focus as much on the political maneuvering around her, which I'm grateful because that would have been to long and arduous. Anyone can google about Edith and learn more, which I did.
My one complaint is that this book focuses a lot on Christian themes. Understandable to a degree considering how deeply religious and spiritual Edith was, but for those not so inclined it is a bit over the top. Nothing a quick skim over didn't fix however. And just because I don't give a fig about Christian prayers or hymn, it doesn't mean that Edith story isn't compelling in and of itself.
Overall I give this one a solid 4 stars. Well researched, well written, compelling depiction of a women we should learn more about in traditional history books.
1914-1915 Brussels, Belgium
Based upon the service of English Red Cross Nurse Edith Cavell. During WWI, Edith served as Head Nurse at Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels. As Belgium is occupied by Germans, it becomes treason to help soldiers other than German soldiers. Yet Edith has sworn an oath to help any who are wounded. And thus, the decision to assist soldiers in need and put herself and her charges at risk or turn non-German soldiers away knowing their dismal fate.
It's a faith building novel as Edith shows determination and courage in the face of resistance. One person can make a difference.
The cover is perfect for the story it holds.
Wonderfully descriptive account of Edith Cavell, her nursing life and support of soldiers. Kept you in suspense wondering how she would go unnoticed in her helping soldiers to escape. Heat searching to the end.
A rather short but intense reading I enjoyed a lot! Edith is shown as a very brave woman, but remains very human through her obstination (determination?) and a well drawn personality. I also found very interesting to read the situation in Brussels during WWI which I didn't know so much about. Overwhelming tension remains up to the conclusion of the novel. Even if you know about Edith Cavell's sentence, yiu still end up hoping for another outcome, showing a good and thrilling writing!
I received a complimentary ARC of this novel from NetGalley and I am leaving voluntarily an honest review.
I always love Rebecca Connolly’s work and this one is no different! I love history but it was a little off-putting since I’m not super nursing but it wasn’t too bad so I was grateful for that.
When I saw that this author was writing a book about WWI, I was so excited to read it!
(I became a large fan after her book about the ship that came to the aid of the Titanic.)
And this book didn’t disappoint one bit. Edith is a head nurse who felt a call from God to be a healer.
But then two injured soldiers show up in the dead of night. And she has to make the decision, does she stay loyal to the German side…or help the enemy.
I decided to read this book because, firstly, it’s historical fiction, and that’s my go-to genre. Second, because the cover is gorgeous. Third, the author was new to me, and I love trying out new writers and writing styles.
I wish I loved this book, but three things kept me from giving it a higher rating. First, the writing style felt very plain and simplistic, and I just couldn’t connect with it or find myself immersed in it either. Second, the plot was very slow, and I just felt like I couldn’t relate or connect with the characters much. Third, sometimes it was hard for me to differentiate Edith’s POV from Lizzie’s, as their characters share a lot of similarities, which made for some confusion.
I do commend the author for writing this story, as it is based on a true story, and it truly is a story of sacrifice and bravery. It just didn’t hit home for me, but it might for you!
Thank you to NetGalley and the author for an eARC of Under the Cover of Mercy. A positive review was not required, only my honest opinion. All thoughts are expressly my own.
I had never heard of Edith Cavell before reading this book, and I am so grateful to Rebecca Connolly for writing about this amazing woman.
Edith's story of bravery and faith is so inspiring. I appreciated the perspective of living in Belgium when the Germans took over, and how hard it was to live in an occupied country. I admire Edith's sense of right and wrong, and that she was determined to help those who needed to escape from the Germans. She did this with grace and courage. I admire her determination to give her life for others.
I would have loved to see a more personal side of Edith's character, she felt very formal the entire book. I'm not sure if that's what she was like in real life, or if it's just the matron role that she held in the book.
Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing, Rebecca Connolly, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinions.
Under the Cover of Mercy is based of true events of Edith and Lizzie two British nurses at the Red Cross hospital in Brussels Belgium during World War 1. It was refreshing to read about somewhere other than France/Germany/Poland. I found Ediths story to be interesting and want to learn more about the events in her real life in which the novel is based off. I did however find the book hard to get into. It started very slow and was full of more religion than I typically enjoy reading which made it hard to connect with the characters.
Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing, NetGalley and Rebecca Connelly for the ARC.
This is a very moving imagining of the events that led to the trial and execution of Edith Cavell, a real British nurse in Belgium in WWI. The story unfolds through the eyes of Edith herself and Lizzie, another nurse who works closely with Cavell. Although the ending is known from the start, the story is well written and compelling, keeping you engaged. The author does a good job portraying the horrors of war and the terrible choices it forces on people, including Cavell. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Wow! What an interesting story about a nurse during WW1 that I had never heard about. The courage that Edith Cavell showed during this time is extraordinary. She was partially responsible for so many lives that were saved. I always hope that I would be as brave if put in a similar situation. So very inspiring!
The book is told in two perspectives, Edith and her No. 2, Lizzie. The characters are well drawn out, the emotion real. I wish we could have remet some of the men she helped, but maybe that is for another day or my own research. I wish the passage of time could have been shown in chapter headings, I think that would have allowed better understanding of how fast or slow things moved.
Another winner by Rebecca Connolly!
Edith Cavell is a Red Cross nurse who served as head nurse at Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels during WWI. This book is based on her life’s story.
Edith was torn by her duties as a nurse and her moral obligations as a decent human being to help save the lives of soldiers who needed to escape an almost certain fate of death. In her duties as matron of Berkendael Medical Institute, she had opportunities to help, and she believed it wasn’t only the infirm who needed her, but also those in danger. She succeeded in hiding and then leading hundreds of soldiers to safety during her time as matron. She understood the dangers but felt it was God’s will that she carry out this duty.
The true account of this courageous woman is inspiring and compelling. It is a very well researched novel with a true reflection of the horrors of war from this different angle. I give this book 4 stars. Thank you, NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the ARC.
This book was well written, enlightening, and heart wrenching. Unsurprisingly, I had not heard of Edith Cavell, so I dove into this story unprepared for the emotions it would evoke.
Edith was a Red Cross nurse during the first world war when the Germans invaded Belgium. She eventually began not only nursing the wounded of all nationalities but also helping allied soldiers escape the Germans. She could not bring herself to nurse soldiers to health and then turn them over only to become prisoners.
Edith's courage, determination, and faith are inspiring, but it becomes obvious that the consequences will be dire. I will leave it at that in order to avoid spoilers.
This book does have quite a bit of faith and religion, not in a preachy way, but because those were an essential part of Edith, her motivation, and who she was. Readers who wish to avoid those concepts might not enjoy this book as much. I highly recommend this to all other readers who are of an age to comprehend war (pg-13 level). Edith's courage and faith, and her determination to do good and see good in others even during horrific times are truly an inspiration to us all.
Under the Cover of Mercy by Rebecca Connolly was an absolute must read for me. Rebecca has long been one of my favorite authors. I am a nurse and I love stories set in WWI. Add in the fact that it is was based on a true story, and I just could not wait to get my hands on this one!
This book mostly follows the life of Edith Cavell, a nurse in the Red Cross in Belgium during WWI. She was compassionate and moved to serve wounded soldiers, regardless of their nationality. This landed her in a difficult situation, and I love that her faith, as she was a faithful practicing Anglican, sustained her through all that she faced. Overall, this is heavy story with a few moments of lightness, such as Jack the dog and in Lizzie her friend. Lizzie carries a good part of the story as well, but much of the emphasis is on Edith. It is full of historical details that rightly reflect this time-period and cause. If you like historical fiction based on actual events without romance, you will enjoy this one.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given.
This book was not quite what I expected.
Based on the life of Edith Cavell, a Red Cross nurse in Belgium during World War I who cares for her patients irregardless of which country they are serving. Once Germany occurs Belgium though, these sentiments are not welcome. She teaches and leads her nursing staff while also helping the Belgian resistance, with courage and conviction. The story is rife with tension between her personal convictions and the risks they pose not to herself, but to her staff, as the resistance begins to dwindle one by one.
A gave it a 3 for a monotone storyline. I realize it's based on a true story, just not a lot happens or changes as it progresses and felt a bit long. A story about a courageous woman and her impact on the lives of those around her. To be enjoyed by readers who like fiction based on true stories.
*Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
I received this ARC through NetGalley, and although it was an “ok” read: there are a few points it was lacking.
The last 30% if this book was a great read.
But it was almost like the author needed to “find herself” and her writing style. And I could certainly tell where research was strongest, and where it was lacking,
The book is quite simply written, and the author does state in the acknowledgments that changing names like “Elizabeth” to “Lizzie” was for simplicity.
Readers don’t always want to be treated like we’re juvenile. There are a number of times where the author would “spell things out” for the reader, which really weren’t necessary and don’t add anything to the story. The same can be said for much of the description of events and characters in the first 1/3 of this book. I feel like I can almost tell what parts of Edith Cavell’s history/story the author was most knowledgeable and comfortable with, as the ending and most notorious (to the common public) parts were well written and far more descriptive.
At first, the storyline jumps around quite a bit in the beginning; small skips in storyline that take a minute to reorient yourself.
Personally, I would have loved the characters to be a little more “fleshed out”, and particularly their histories and the day to day activities more detailed. I do feel like a lot was skimmed over because not a lot was necessarily known. A novel about a nurse during the war aiding British soldiers shouldn’t be slow. There’s so much that could have been added, but events were overlooked. I can see how/why the author didn’t touch on the nursing aspects of this character/story but instead on the resistance aspect of things. But there is so much more that could have been added to give a broader view of the surroundings, the atmosphere, and the emotions.
But. All that to be said, this was a good read, one where you’re not going to sit and read it all in one day, but a good- rad a couple chapters a day, kind of books; that’s not too difficult to read, doesn’t take a whole lot of effort on the readers part, and still leaves you feeling engaged and interested.
This is a fictionalized account of the true story of nurse Edith Cavell, matron of a Red Cross hospital in Belgium during World War I after the German invasion. It is sobering and inspiring to read of Edith’s courage and faith in the face of wounded soldiers from many countries who needed medical care, but who needed to be hidden to avoid reprisals from the German military in occupation. The daily lives of the nurses and patients are given great detail, and the characters come alive under Connolly’s writing.
This is not light, easy reading. If you want a happy ending, choose another book. If you want to re-live what happened in Belgium during World War I, and learn how to face your own life with courage and faith, this book is well-worth reading.
"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own." #UndertheCoverofMercy #NetGalley
As a nurse, this story combined my love for the medical field with my love for good historical fiction! I thoroughly enjoyed this story!! I did crave a bit more depth to the writing - I felt it was a little lack luster at times.
Brussels, Belgium, 1914
The Great War has come to Brussels, and the Germans occupy the city, and Edith Cavell, the Head Nurse at Berkendael Medical Institute is faced with an impossible situation. Edith has sworn an oath to help any who are wounded despite their nationalities. Governor von Luttwitz has additional orders for her. She and her nurses must stand guard under the wounded Allied POWs and prevent them from escaping.
Edith believes God has called her to be a healer, not a jailor.
Members of The Belgian resistance desperate to help bring two British wounded and eventually to freedom bring them to Edith hoping that she will assist them. She makes choices that will see these soldiers heal and then smuggle them off to safety.
I found this subject hard to read, a nurse trying to do her job but also what she felt God was calling her to do as well. I was somewhat disappointed because a lot of the POV was from her fellow nurse and loyal friend, Lizzie(Elizabeth)Wilkins, and I wanted to hear Edith’s POV during this time as well, but that didn’t really get until the end of the story. Since this is based on a true story, the ending isn’t entirely a happy one, however, I did enjoy learning about a person I had never heard of previously. It was heartwrenching to read.
My gratitude to Shadow Mountain and NetGalley. All opinions expressed are mine.
I really wanted to love this novel, but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me personally. I love historical fiction and I love reading about regions and events that I’m not already familiar with, and while I know some about Belgium in WWI, I was not familiar with the Red Cross nurses during the German occupation of Belgium.
The book is based on the real life figure of Edith Cavell, a British Red Cross nurse who runs a nursing hospital in Brussels. The chapters alternate between the point of view of Edith and the point of view of Lizzie, Edith’s friend and another Red Cross nurse.
I found the book fairly hard to get into, and slow going at first. I felt like I needed more action, more dynamics, rather than lengthy descriptions. I also found the extensive religious excerpts a little tedious and often ended up skimming them. I understand why the author included religion, given that Cavell was a devout Christian, but it made for very heavy, slow reading that I personally did not enjoy. If you’re a fan of Christian fiction, it may be more to your taste.
3.5 stars, rounded up.
WWI is not as well known as WWII. This story gives us a glimpse into the life of a little know heroine.
Edith Cavell, a Red Cross nurse serving in Belgium, cannot refuse any wounded solider. Over the course of time, she helped hundreds of British, French, and Belgium soldiers heal and escape.
She was committed to the task no matter the price. She looked to a higher power, God, for strength and wisdom to carry on the tasks she was called to.
I downloaded this because of the synopsis and the cover. I typically love historical fiction, and the fact that this book is based on real life occurrences intrigued me. Also, I was happy to read a book that is not set in the World War II era-World War I seems to be less overdone in historical fiction.
I'll start with my minor criticism of the book. The plot is fairly straightforward. There are no big twists, aside from the ending that is less of a twist as much as it is emotional. There's also not a lot of levity to counterbalance the serious plot.
As for what I loved-the book is well written. I really cared about Edith and Lizzie as well as the other nurses. The last half of the book really picked up and I read most of it in one sitting because I really needed to know the outcome. I don't want to inadvertently give spoilers so I won't say any more besides the ending got me in my feelings! (Also, if you are unfamiliar with the real life story don't research it beforehand. Save that for afterwards!)
I would 100% read something else by this author and I would recommend it to any lover of historical fiction. That being said, a reader needs to be in the right head space to tackle the heavy subject matter of World War I.
Good story, but very slow to read. Hard to get into, and overly religious descriptions. The characters needed to be more fleshed out. Overall not a terrible book.
Connolly honours Edith Cavell in this emotionally charged peek into the legacy of this British nurse and her work in Belgium during WWI.
“She had her personal convictions - extend compassion and humanity to all, be of service and do good, give life back to those who were on the brink of death - but she also held patriotic convictions, remaining wholly devoted to King and Country and staying firmly planted on the side of what was right rather than what was powerful. And those convictions were made of iron.”
Cavell’s life was a testimony to those who put their life on the line, defying the powerful enemy, for the defence and freedom of others. She was a powerful inspiration and Connolly writes to make sure history does not forget this gentle heroine.
To some, she was a British nurse, to others a martyr and for some a spy. Regardless, she was a courageous woman who put others’ needs before her own. She gave it all.
Cavell’s skills as a nurse were in high demand in Europe in 1914. She was eagerly accepted by the Red Cross and worked to save as many injured soldiers as she could. Edith never discriminated; every life was treated equally, regardless of nationality. When her hospital became part of German-occupied territory, Edith had a dilemma. Would she play it safe and give in to the demands to hand over the Allied soldiers or tend to them and offer them an escape at a risk to her own life?
The inclusion of Edith’s religious motivation added to this book. Despite knowing how it would all end, I still read on, hoping for an alternate ending! Connolly tapped into my emotions and in examining the war of terrible choices, showed that making the right one relied on Edith leaning on her upbringing and moral compass.
I loved the message of being willing to stand up for our principles regardless of circumstances and the encouragement to dig deep, find our humanity and ask what we can do to help another. What legacy do we want to leave? Is the sacrifice worth it?
The cover is fantastic and represents a beautiful image of the loneliness in standing alone, under the cover of mercy, receiving the strength to do what’s right.
I was gifted this copy by Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
I was excited to read about a new person in history I was unfamiliar with! Sadly, the story just dragged on! Events that should have felt intense felt too scripted, like reading a history book which was very disappointing. It was confusing at times which nurse, Edith or Lizzie, the story was being told from. Too many insignificant details (why so much towel folding) and not enough about actual nurse care or specific soldiers or escape runs. Just a very long drawn out narrative. I skipped to the end and found the last few chapters a bit better but still too many names and facts thrown at you that take you away from the story and into a history book.
Unique angle of Belgian nurse during the war. Interesting to learn a new piece of history.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc, all opinions are my own.
I’d never heard of Edith Cavell before reading this book. This is a work of historical fiction based on the true story of a devoutly religious head nurse at Belgian hospital during German occupation of WWI. The story chronicles her dedication to heal the wounded regardless of their nationality, and most importantly, her participation in the resistance in order to save as many soldiers as possible, and the price she paid for her efforts.
Certainly Edith Cavell is an admirable woman who helped countless soldiers in the war at a great sacrifice. However, I had a hard time connecting with the writing style of this novel. I prefer a more immersive writing style that includes vivid descriptions of the settings and intimate, nuanced views of the characters’ emotions and inner worlds. These are things that pull me into a story, allow me to get lost in it and count the seconds until I can get back to reading when I’m periodically forced to put it down. Conversely, this story felt a little flat as it was told in more of a simplified, matter-of-fact manner: “Here’s what happened, here’s what she was thinking.” I left with an understanding of the events that took place, but was never able to fully lose myself in the telling of them.
Still, I do think this style of writing has an audience, as it was not dry and it was easy to follow.
There is today much popular interchange about the nature of ‘history’, of what constitutes it and who authors it, of how it is disseminated and what is omitted through ignorance or deliberate arrangements of power. The vital project of narrating history - or histories - is entering, it seems, a critical period, where a legitimate distrust of ‘official’ history is imperilling the very ethos of the recording of human events as a shared narrative. To fictionalize actual places, an author is at one more remove from the event and thus the duty of an author presenting the life of important historical figures, is a crucial one. Fiction aims to supply what is typically outside the purview of non-fiction: a palpable sense of the social, emotive and psychological sensibility of a time. There is much involved in the presentation of the details of that person’s life, with a need to establish the context for actions and decisions, and to accurately recreate the setting in which the person lived, moved, and breathed. Little wonder that it often takes many authors years of research to fully establish their figure confidently against its background.
Long passionate about military history and that of WWI in particular, I was piqued by the imminent release of Rebecca Connolly’s, “Under the Cover of Mercy,” a novel about feminist heroine Edith Cavell, which unfortunately, fell far short of my expectations, so much so that I had a very difficult time finishing it though I did persevere in order to give an objective, thorough review.
Connolly is the author of numerous period romance novels so it can be presumed that she understands the importance of research. While reading the book it was immediately clear that although Connolly has researched Cavell’s life in Belgium, the people with whom she was connected, and the specifics of the Anglican faith, the physical and social environment through which Cavell moved is lacking in development and density sufficient to imbue the reading experience with the intrinsic idiosyncrasies of time and place, resulting in a rudimentary animation of Cavell’s personal timeline placed against a hazy backdrop.
Doggedly linear, heavy on dialogue, and relying on predictable plot points revealed with the subtlety of a sledgehammer on a xylophone, “Under the Cover of Mercy” often felt more like a novelization of a teleplay than a novel. Connolly’s superficial prose, as efficient and officious as a military command, the spoken language often seemed more suited to a more current piece than 1914-15, as it lacked the subtleties of class and gender, formal and informal speech, even with the attempts to incorporate German, French, and Flemish vocabulary. The lack of attention to cadence and expressive texture of language also made this a difficult read, Connolly’s fictive voice is consistently poorly developed, with most paragraphs being one to three sentences long and relying heavily on dialogue where longer narrative descriptions would have been more effective and enabled the author to more greatly evoke the improbable situation of English nurses in the surrounding world of WWI Belgium.
The plot instances often lacked development and many an opportunity was missed to advance the story through intrigue and situational drama; there’s really no great emotional investment demanded of the reader until the trial scene. With traitorous spies in place, impromptu searches by German soldiers, interactions between collaborators, interactions between young nurses and soldiers, there were just so many ways that intrigue could have been further developed and generally, these moments were not exploited and fell flat. What could have been a high point, in the rising action of the interrogation of Cavell when she is finally arrested is equally boring, the German interrogators seemingly unqualified and inept. Finally, the high point of the novel was the court scene when Cavell and other collaborators are put on trial, ultimately leading to Cavell’s execution, and I was even disappointed there because it was over before it could truly build to an emotional climax. I wanted to care about these characters, but ultimately, Connolly’s writing made the end feel inevitable and even justified.
Had this been a romance novel, I may have been more generous in my appraisal as the tropes and written qualities of the genre generally veer towards the use of more simplistic language and predictable story telling, however, this novel is being marketed as historical fiction and I feel it is the ethical duty of the author to respect the time, place, and people who experienced it. Connolly’s Cavell comes off as a well-intentioned but somewhat bumbling figure, and her band of nurses often sophomoric. One of my biggest criticisms is the lack of attention to the details of life in a WWI hospital treating the wounded, whatever their nationality. The nature and quality of injuries and illness in WWI were often horrific and overwhelming. Connolly’s hospital setting seems busy but vaguely so, the nurses seem to have far too much time to be running around engaging in idle intrigue. The lack of blood, suppurating wounds, burns, and missing body parts paint a rather sanitised history of an outspoken woman of integrity, whose contributions to the allies, both in life, and in death as a galvanising figure widely used in propaganda, were profound. To sum it up, if you really want to know about the life of Edith Cavell, you'd do better to read the Wiki page or a fully researched biography, and skip this novel.
This book was so interesting. It was informative without feeling like a history lesson.
I’ve never heard of Edith Cavell but I was fascinated by her story. She is an inspiration and a true hero. I was glad this author wrote her story so that I could get to know her.
This was well researched and well written.
This is not my usual genre - I read fluff and romance, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
This engrossing novel describes the life of Edith Cavel, British nurse in charge of the Red Cross hospital in Brussels during the German Occupation in World War I. We are given few glimpses into Edith’s life before the day in 1915 when the Germans march into her beloved city. With her deep faith and uncompromising honesty, she continues her life’s work: training and encouraging her staff and caring for every wounded patient in need, regardless of nationality. She is soon approached by figures in the Belgian underground asking that first, she treat their members who’ve been injured, later that she treat wounded Allied soldiers who’ve fallen behind enemy lines, and eventually that she allow her hospital to be part of a network that smuggles recovered Allied soldiers back to British lines. Although she knows the dangers and worries about the safety of her hospital and her nurses, she cannot turn away from what she feels is her God-appointed duty to care for those in need, whatever the cost. When the network is eventually betrayed, that cost will be her life. Her execution shocked the world and brought lasting fame to a woman who would be forever remembered as the symbol of uncompromising compassion in the face of danger and loss.
The difficult situation of the Belgians under occupation, the constant threat that the occupiers could at any moment arrest anyone they chose, and the bravery of those who opposed the occupation at the risk of their lives is well described. There are few “light” moments in the novel, which is probably a realistic depiction of the times, but my only quibble is that the unrelenting and oppressive sense of danger does become somewhat numbing. But this faithful imagining of Cavel’s courage and sacrifice is both moving and inspiring.
Under the Cover of Mercy, by Rebecca Connally, is the story of Edith Cavell, a Red Cross nurse who worked in Belgium during WWI. While the writing is not lyrical prose, the story is one of "faith, devotion, fortitude, sacrifice, humility" as demonstrated by the life of this English woman. Edith was a nurse and a teacher who revolutionized the nursing profession in Belgium when it was not a popular profession for women. She devoted her life to serving others.
You will be moved by the story of this woman who has been relatively lost to history.
The cover immediately drew me in, and anything WW1 related makes me excited! 😍
I was first introduced to Edith Cavell as a 12-year-old & I never forgot her. Her courage & bravery inspired me. Her work as a nurse & “spy” forged my interest in both medicine & espionage.
This book wasn’t “gripping” per se with its introspection & gentle pacing, and often read more like a biography than a novel. The passage of time was rather unclear to me, and several times I wished for a cast list as I mixed several characters up.
But for all that, I appreciated the story & the touching tribute to the legacy Edith left behind!
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
My heart is full! So many emotions were felt while reading this incredible story about the efforts of Edith Cavell. As the synopsis states, she was the head nurse at Berkendael Medical Institute and the matron of a designated Red Cross hospital, helping soldiers. She didn't discriminate against the soldiers allegiance or origin, she treated them all fairly and helped heal them. But unfortunately the German governor who was placed in charge of the area in Brussels when the German army occupied there during WWI, was not as good and kind. Demanding Edith and her hospital and nurses guard any non-German soldiers and let him know, only so that they could be executed after they were healed. Not willing to stand beside this practice, Edith took matters into her own hands.
Such an incredible and heartbreaking story. And I'm sure that there are over the years many others similar to this, of good people not willing to stand by and let wrong and the injustices of war prevail. I was drawn into this story and invested in these characters, many of them real historical figures, and their desire to rescue and help as many people as they could.
Unfortunately not every person involved in these rescue attempts came out unscathed and unhurt. I so wish they all could have been protected just like the individuals they were protecting were. But as I said previously, war is not just and fair. It is not a respecter of persons. So be warned, there are moments of sorrow that you will feel deeply. But there are moments of triumph that will have you reverently cheering for those involved.
Deeply touching and stirring. This was a wonderfully inspiring story showing us just how one person can step up and do incredible and hard things for the good of others.
Content: The book is what I would consider a clean read. Yes, it deals with war and death and afflictions and wounds and healing. But the author wrote it all in a very respectful and not overly graphic way that I think even my teenagers would enjoy this book and I wouldn't be opposed to sharing it with them.
I received a copy from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.
Under the Cover of Mercy, a book set in Belgium in WWI. It is based on the true story of Edith Cavell, a woman who courageously served as a nurse and who helped about 200 allies escape. She had a big heart for healing and for teaching other nurses about being compassionate. Edith didn't want to be known as a hero, only as a nurse who helped others along the way. A very well researched book.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rebecca Connolly's historcal, Under the Cover of Mercy. I loved the history, characters, plot and setting. Five stars.
I didn't read the synopsis before picking this book up and wasn't sure what to expect, but I've come to love and respect Connolly's writing and knew it was sure to be good. I wasn't wrong.
This historical and Christian fiction book was based on an actual person and actual events, which I didn't realize, but was immensely grateful to discover. Edith was the matron (head nurse) at a Red Cross affiliated hospital in Belgium during WWI and through her faith and extremely meek and charitable personality, found herself called to helping soldiers escape the German rule.
I was a little confused at first, trying to separate Edith and Lizzie (a nurse and friend), but found them each to be such wonderful and stable characters, and I respected them each greatly. I had some long and deep discussions with a friend about the events that these nurses went through and the strength they had to endure the horrors and anxieties of war. I became so emotionally invested in this story and found myself in deep introspection.
This is a story that will stick to my heart and soul for a long while.
Content: moderate Christian themes; moderate war-type violence/death, but tastefully done (not overly graphic)
*I received a complimentary book from the publisher through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.*
Wonderful! This novel is filled with amazing historical fiction based on a true story! I love this kind of story-telling! Now, I am not a sad story lover, but Ms Connolly's writing is wonderful and clear! I followed right along and did not want to put it down! I enjoyed all the beautiful camaraderie between the nurses. They showed true friendship and adoration got a valiant leader! But I was terrorized when the soldiers arrived every time - I would not have been good at that. Heaven bless Nurse Edith Cavell! What an agonizingly brave woman! I know you will love this story!
This was such a heartbreaking read. It's so well done but it was fairly slow and I kind of kept waiting for something big to happen - but it didn't. I respect that it probably follows the history and the real world life of Cavell closely, but it's still not quite the gripping read that I might have expected or liked.
It is though lovely to read something set in Belgium rather than in France or the UK, it's great to see a new setting, hear/see the lived experience of what was happening in different theatres of war.
This book is a very interesting look at a time and place of war that I was unfamiliar with in Belgium. It centers around the life and service of Edith Cavell a nurse and instructor from England that was helping in Belgium. This book encapsulates the highs and lows, and the horrors and triumphs of the human spirit in a time of war. After reading this book I looked up the people mentioned in the book to learn more about them.
I would highly recommend.
I really enjoyed learning the history of Red Cross nurse Edith Cavell, what a truly remarkable woman willing to stand up for her personal and religious convictions regardless of the circumstances that were forced on her. I did find that the book read a bit more like a biography than historical fiction. The story line moved along quite slowly, but it kept my interest. I had trouble in the beginning confusing Edith and Lizzie and none of the side characters really caught my attention until reading the end notes that many were real people. Not a “wow” book for me but I’m glad I read it.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read for my honest review.
Synopsis: “Lizzie could only nod at the suggestion. She had never met anyone who was so filled with faith and devotion as Edith Cavell, so wholly dedicated to her Christianity that it was impossible to separate it from her person. It was not a trait of her character; it was the center of her existence.” Under the German occupation of Belgium in WW1, Edith Cavell runs a Redcross clinic where she continues her commitment in educating nurses and helping the sick and wounded, no matter their country of origin. Edith finds herself not only nursing enemy soldiers back to health but also helping them escape the hands of the Germans. Soon trouble finds the nurses as suspect patients enter the hospital and inspections increase. Will Edith and her nurses be able to keep their operation under cover or will all be found out?
Analysis: I so badly wanted to enjoy this read, but the writing, plot, and characters fell flat to me. It’s difficult to write a poor review for this book because Edith’s story is noble and needs to be told. I think with a true story like this it has to be difficult to take the liberty to add extra information to Edith’s life. But it lacked excitement and drama. I feel this would have been better as a biography instead of historical fiction.
Under thr Cover of Mercy by Rebecca Connolly
This is one of those books that made me feel very deeply. I cried through the last half and finished it in a day and a half. Being based on a real woman during WW1 in Belguim, this is lovely and well written. You can tell the author really felt love and respect for Edith Cavel. I have not read as much history as I would like on WW1 but now I want to.
Many heroes are lost to history. The life of Edith Cavell is beautifully told and celebrated in this story. She did so much good as a nurse and as a human being. She taught future nurses how to give care and aid to those around her, regardless of race. She brought calm in a time of war and chaos. A truly amazing woman.
History is full of ordinary people who made extraordinary differences that the world forgot. Under the Cover of Mercy shines a light on one of them, Edith Cavell. A nurse who dedicated her life to taking care of everyone, who put herself at immense risk when she hid and treated allied soldiers from the German army during WW1. Showcasing Edith’s life’s work not just as a nurse but as a teacher who ensured her love of healing was passed on. This book leans a bit into Christian fiction which is not really my thing but I still enjoyed the historical aspects and it would have been hard to write this book without it to some degree. Thank you to @netgalley and @shadowmountainpub for a copy of this book for review. #bookstagram #readforjoy #readersoffiction #readersofinstagram #read #bookreview #book #booklife #historical
Edith Cavall, a Red Cross nurse and teacher assigned to a hospital in Brussels, Belgium during WWI, always let her Christian upbringing and strong beliefs guide her actions. Her beliefs were her true north. So when the Germans invaded her town, and English soldiers were brought to her for care under the cover of darkness, her grounded beliefs prevented her from acting as a jailer and keeping these English soldiers captive, despite being told to turn them over to the Germans. Once they were healthy enough to leave, they were guided to the Holland border. Under the Cover of Mercy is an aspiring novel of how one woman defined the German government and help care for hundreds of British soldiers.
Rebecca Connelly created a thoroughly researched novel of a truly remarkable woman who was unwavering in her beliefs to care for those she served, regardless of nationality. I did feel, at times, that the history overwhelmed the fiction part of the story causing the book to feel slow at times with the dangerous nature of the situation underplayed. Edith’s strong Christian beliefs guide all her actions and comfort her in challenging times and truly are an inspiration when faced with the unthinkable. Overall this was a decent book that truly taught be something I did not know before.
Thank you NetGalley for this gifted book. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own and were voluntarily given.
One of the great things about historical fiction is how authors are able to bring to life the stories of unsung heroes and forgotten people throughout history. This is very much the case with Under the Cover of Mercy by Rebecca Connolly and the real life story of Edith Cavell and Elizabeth Wilkins, who were two Red Cross nurses based in Belgium during the First World War.
When we first meet Edith and Lizzie, the German Army have taken control of Belgium and in the infirmary where they work, both nurses heal and look after both Germans injured in battle, but also prisoners of war from the French and British armies. As the war continues, the resistance movement contact Edith to ask whether she will help some injured, but uncaptured British soldiers and once healed, to help them to escape Belgium. Edith feels as though this is part of her duty to any injured person to get them back to health; no matter what side of the war they are on. Upon the success of this task, Edith and the infirmary get more people passing through and Lizzie is taken into confidence about what is happening. After a while, the German military command become aware of what's happening and they put surveillance on the infirmary.
The story is told from the perspectives of both Edith and Lizzie and we get to see their two points of view throughout the novel and how they change over the course of the story, which is very well done. The quiet, dignified resolve in which Edith carries herself knowing the dangers she is putting herself under is remarkable and inspiring. The ability of Lizzie to take inspiration from Edith and continue with her work and nurture the nurses and the trainees throughout showed a great resolve.
I think where the novel let me down slightly, was that I never really got a sense of place at all throughout it. It would have been great to feel what Brussels was like in this period, with the added detail of the city and the infirmary, where all of the action took place. I also feel that this would have helped to develop the tension throughout the story, by building a stronger world that you can place yourself in. Whilst there was a gradual increase in the tension, as the story progressed, I feel this could have been ramped up far more to add to the dramatic impact of the story. Overall, there is enough in the book to keep you interested throughout, but the best bit is the strength of Edith's character, in particular and how she continued to run the infirmary, whilst also saving around 200 British and French soldiers, by getting them out of Belgium.
I enjoyed this story of determination and light. It was a little slow for me in the beginning, but the characters built their storylines and made me want to see a resolution. A great way to learn of some of the world history!
This book has all you hope to find in a historical novel. Nurses do so much more than simply care for their patients; in a war zone they do even more. This is a story based on facts that take us through the faith of the matron, how she handles the requests of the enemy, sticks to her beliefs and triumphs in the end. It leaves you with thoughts about legacy. Legacy becomes what you stand for and all about what you believe. This is the kind of heroine our children need.
his is an historical fiction story about Edith Cavell. The setting is 1914 during WWI. Cavell is a nurse and the matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute in Belgium. She trains nurses there and it operates under the flag of the Red Cross. The story begins as the German forces begin occupation of the country. She and her nurses are allowed to continue their nursing duties within the limits set by the Germans. They are supposed to act as jailers to non-Germans. She eventually begins to hide and treat allied soldiers, helping many escape to freedom at the Holland border.
The story is told form duel POVs, Edith and another nurse Lizzie. I felt the second view was there to show how Edith inspires and leads the nurses and to leave a witness of the events. I think the story is important and was glad to learn about this new to me heroine. But I didn’t connect as much to the writing style and pacing of the book. There are religious overtones in the story as Edith’s strong Christian beliefs guide her actions. For a war time book there are injuries but nothing is overly graphic.
Kudos for the beautiful cover. It is striking and invites the reader to the book. Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the ARC and I am leaving a voluntary review. (3.5 Stars)
Edith has devoted her life to helping others through nursing and training nurses, but when war comes to Brussels, she feels a growing need to do more. When asked to care for and assist English and French soldiers, she agrees, and the Red Cross clinic becomes part of a secret network of resistance work, aiding 'enemy' soldiers to escape the country. But the risks are great, and the longer they operate, the greater the chance of capture. The authorities are already suspicious, and the pressure on Edith to do her part while also fulfilling her role as Matron to the clinic and endeavouring to protect the nurses under her care, knowing that the punishment for such actions could be death, becomes almost unbearable. Can her relationship with God carry her through all she must endure?
A deeply moving story of a nurse willing to risk - and give - all to care for those around her. Though set in a war, there is little or no bad language or violence, which I appreciated. That's not to say the horrors of war are whitewashed, just that what does take place occurs off-page. It's certainly not a light read, and while very readable, can get a little heavy (unsurprising given the topic). It's also inspiring and thought-provoking, but if you're looking for a happy ending, this may not be the best book to pick. However, I have to admit that it was quite hard to put down - in fact, I read for almost an hour longer than I'd intended, to finish it! Tentatively recommended - but don't forget the tissues...
Note that I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and this is my considered opinion of the book.
This book was ... gutting. In a really good way.
I had never heard of Edith Cavell until this read, and am very thankful her story and I crossed paths. Wow--just wow.
I can only think of one other book I've ever cried while reading (Mary Beth Chapman's Choosing to SEE), and this one very nearly joined it, especially at a few points in the last quarter. I am really glad I didn't end up trying to finish it at bedtime (unlike when I started it).
The synopsis indicated that the book was set during WWI. I really felt it read more as if it were set during WWII, and second-guessed myself for a good chunk of the book. I wished the author had done more to create a specific sense of place and setting within the war. For being a story about an (unjustly so) largely unsung hero, I think that would have gone a long way in adding even more depth to what is, absolutely and already, a powerful story here.
There were a fair few lengthy quotations near the end, as well. Lengthyyyyyy. On the one hand, I loved it, because I love liturgy and that's largely what these excerpts were from, paired with Scripture and hymns. They certainly lent gravitas to two very serious and climactic scenes. So on the one hand, I loved it--but on the other hand, multiple pages of liturgical (and not short) prayers and scriptures verbatim became a bit ... stilted and forced this reader, anyway, to sit and struggle with all the feels. It did make me take a hard look at my own faith, see myself in the scene, and really have to sit/dialogue with faith-meets-end-of-life elements.
All that to say, a stunning read that certainly forced me to do some long and hard inner reflection. Imperfect, but well worth the time even so.
♦️In August 1914, the Germans occupied Brussels. Edith Cavell, the Matron of Berkendael Medical Institute, was very upset. As a nurse, she had always thought it her duty to serve the sick and the wounded. So she decided to inform the German Governor-General that her nurses were always at the services of the wounded irrespective of their nationality. However, when she approached him, she was told that it was also expected of the nurses to guard the soldiers while treating them so that they didn't escape, to which she disagreed. Then one day, someone from the Belgian resistance came to Edith's institute seeking her help in treating and hiding two wounded English soldiers. Thus, she started her journey of saving hundreds of Allied soldiers by helping them escape from the Germans. However, with the German soldiers regularly coming for inspection, it was not an easy job. Was she successful in protecting them? What price did she pay for her noble act
💥This was my first World War 1 historical fiction, and I do not regret reading it. I thank the author for enlightening me about an important but lesser-known woman in history.
💥The book showcases the problems faced by the medical staff during times of war. If the medical team are working in an occupied country, then the problem is even more significant.
💥The story also highlights that during dark phases and times of distress, people often try to find hope by submitting themselves to the Almighty.
💥 It also gives us an idea about the brutality of the Germans during the war.
💥Edith Cavell was a living example of courage and sacrifice. During wartime, when people feel hopeless, people like her help restore faith in humanity. She followed her conscience by helping people in danger, even if it threatened her life. She was a God-fearing person who had immense faith in him. She was compassionate towards her fellow nurses and the probationers. She always guided them on the right path, and they also turned to her for help. She always found her assistant Elizabeth Wilkins by her side in whatever she did. Edith, on the other hand was a friend and a mentor to her.
💥A significant part of the book has quotes from the Bible and hymns which slows down its pace. I being a non-Christian, was unable to decipher most of it. I agree that Miss. Cavell was profoundly religious, but it could have been portrayed in some other way, not just by quoting the Bible.
💥Overall it was a wonderful read, and I am grateful to the author for bringing to light such a powerful woman whom time has long forgotten. Readers who would like to know about the admirable lady should definitely read this gem.
I am grateful to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC of this novel.
First, what a beautiful book cover for a beautiful story! Secondly, perfect title for the story!
I didn't recognize the name Edith Cavell and as I was reading the book I kept thinking, "Is this about a real person?" but never pulled out my phone to find out. I was happy to find out towards the end that yes it was based on a real person and what a remarkable person she was.
The story is a beautiful tell of faith, courage, humility, and standing up for a cause you believe in. I feel like Lizzie in the story and now have a deep respect and love for Edith and for all she did for others in a time that doing so was risky.
Thank you to Shadow Mountain and Rebecca Connolly for the advanced copy. This is definitely a book I will be buying once released to add to my Connolly collection.
i just love historical fiction with strong female characters, and the strong bond between women. this book made me cry and rage at the same time. i mean come on , why do some people assume they have a right to play god. to determin who is good or who is bad.
i just said i loved strong female characters, and i stand by it. but in my opinion the female lead,in my opinion, even though she was strong , gave up to easily. i loved the bond between the characters, how far they would go for protecting eachother. i highly recommend this book
thank you to netgalley for the e arc, my opinion is my own
This is a true story written like a novel. It was an easy read and kept my attention from the beginning. The faith content was amazing! Edith Cavell was a faith-filled truly remarkable woman. A great book.
This cover is beautiful! I'm familiar with Edith Cavell's heroic story, so I was intrigued to read this. I have read most of this authors books, and loved them so I figured I wouldn't be disappointed by reading something different than her regular works. That being said, Edith's story is so brave and all of the events that led up to what happened to her was just asking to be written into a story. However, this book was slow, I understand writing about actual people is difficult, but this story felt a little flat to me. While I understand why its there, I didn't like the changing POV's, I was confused sometimes about who I was reading. Though this is just a personal preference, and I know it was based on her life, but I like a smidgen of romance in my stories. Even if it wasn't with Edith.
The book was very on par with Rebecca's writing style and while I enjoyed the book, I probably won't read it again. The author's notes definitely improve the over all story. so give those a read This isn't one of those deep filled to the brim with details, gritty historical books. It's a pretty light read for a heavy subject if that makes sense. It was pretty good and I would recommend to anyone looking to learn more about Edith's story.
I received a copy of from the publisher for my honest review.
This story of Edith Cavell is tidily summed up in this novel by Rebecca Connolly. I was genuinely moved by her choices, her faith, and her sacrifice. But I found the telling of this story so unembellished by descriptive, world-building details that it left me wanting so much more for this heroic woman. But for the right audience, this is still a worthwhile book.
I'm always up for learning when I read, and love fitting in these 'based-on-a-true character' type reads with my purely fiction reads. WWI is always interesting to take on and I was immediately drawn in by the cover and premise.
I had read A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice by this author and knew I needed to see what she had coming next. (If you haven't read A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice I HIGHLY recommend it!)
I did feel like this book read more like a biography than a novel. It was very informative and I really learned a lot of behind the scenes work during this war. This book was gripping, inspiration and heartbreaking all at the same time.
I had never heard of this woman before I read this book and am so glad this author gave her a nod of recognition. It is a story worth telling. The bravery this woman had was touching. I appreciated the dual POV with one of Edith's fellow nurses and felt it added great depth, especially as the book progressed.
If you're a fan of history and inspirational war stories you should definitely check out this book.
Thanks to the publisher for the copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.
Under the Cover of Mercy by Rebecca Connolly will be available April 11, 2023!
Under the Cover of Mercy is all about the amazing Edith Cavell, who stood up to German occupiers in Belgium during World War 1.
Things I loved:
- I could see the real challenge that it was to work against the German soldiers
- The book portrayed how difficult it was to trust strangers
- I learned so much about Edith
Things I didn’t love:
- The description of the place and certain events was lackluster. I couldn’t envision the surroundings of the characters.
- The switching Point of Views got confusing sometimes.
Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy of the book. All opinions are my own.
Edith Cavell was the head nurse at a Brussels Hospital she was a proper English woman who wanted to teach her students quiet serenity respect for their self and their patients And the proper duties of the nurse. When Germany took over Brussels the new duties were to watch the German prisoners take care of the injured German soldiers and pretend like they were OK with the status quo but when a friend of Edith sent an introductory letter asking her to 10 to two British soldiers hiding out in the Brussels countryside she was at first a little hesitant but eventually would say yes this would start a whole secret mission to not only help British soldiers get better but also get back home to England it wasn’t until a Brussels man who they tended to and sent to England showed up again that Edith started worrying maybe they were on to her it’s her her best friend Lizzie and the other nurses if called could be tried for treason and killed but because she was a nurse and took a vo to make those sick better she carried on with her secret work. This was such a good book so touching and such a sad ending but one that makes you proud to be human. Edith and Lizzie put their lives on the line to help those in desperate need despite the consequences they did what they could and gave their best when they didn’t have to. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it if you love historical fiction based on fact you love Under The Cover Of Mercy By Rebecca Connelly I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.
I really wanted to enjoy this book. I love other books by this author but this one didn’t connect with me. It was very interesting learning about this real person in history and more about what went on during the war but the storyline was lacking. I feel like it just breezed over events. I also didn’t like the main heroine, Edith. There was no depth in her character and I feel like she was too mellow throughout the whole wartime story.
There’s a firing squad. And Edith Cavell is in line. She has been sentenced to the death penalty by a firing squad for spying. But was she spying? She was a Red Cross nurse just doing her job.
Set during WWI Belgium during the German occupation. Matron Edith a British Red Cross nurse, and along with the nurses she trained, would care and tend to the wounded soldiers coming through the medical institute’s doors. However, because Belgium had been taken by the Germans, it was illegal to care for any non-Germans.
With courage, despite constant questioning and searching of the premises by the Germans, she nursed back to health all soldiers that came through the Medical Institute. She then sent them in the direction of the Resistance. Who in turn, helped them to find their way back home, avoiding being captured by the Germans.
The true story of Edith Cavell. Her strength and resilience and bravery and humanity should not be forgotten. She must be remembered for her part in WW1. This story has touched me so much, that I will pay my respects to her grave when I am in Norwich next week. The author really brought to life the story of Edith Cavell of whom I knew nothing about. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and review your book.
#BookRevew: UNDER THE COVER OF MERCY by Rebecca Connolly
“I am not giving up Lizzie. I will accept what is to be and move forward in faith, no matter what.”
I wish I knew about Edith Cavell before reading this book. Her faith in the Lord was just amazing. Based on her true story, everyone who knew Edith could attest to her unwavering faith and patience. She was an English nurse in Belgium during WWI. She did her best to do her duty as a nurse.I liked how she calmed the other nurses and the injured soldiers with her presence and encouraging words. She was an uncomplicated person who was dedicated to healing the injured, regardless of who they fought for.
The story gave spotlight to the nurses and the Red Cross during the war. It was incredible to read of their courage and compassion to heal the wounded soldiers. There were so many people on the resistance side. I feared for their lives and the danger they faced everyday. They took risks to do what they felt was right.
This was a well researched and well written book. The characters were well developed and the pacing was good. The scene inside the prison with Edith and Lizzie was heartbreaking. It also made me applaud Edith's strong will and faith in the Lord. This was a good read and an unforgettable one.
Rating: 4.5 ⭐
Pub date: 11 Apr 2023
Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing and #netgalley for the complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own.
I enjoy learning about historical figures, and it's even better if I've never heard their story before. That was the case with Edith Cavell. I don't know a whole lot about WWI, and had never heard about Ms. Cavell or what she did that made her famous. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this book and learn about her though, because her story is so inspiring. I can't even imagine how difficult it would have been to help Allied soldiers escape, especially with all of the German soldiers constantly poking around.
I recommend having a tissue or two nearby while reading this book. Edith's unwavering faith and ability to stand up for what was right, no matter what are inspiring. I think all of us could learn a lot from her quiet example.
An interesting story of part of the life of Edith Cavall as a British nurse in Belgium during World War I. Imagine just how difficult it was for a woman in 1915 devoted to nursing those who came into her care no matter what side of the war they were on. This is a woman who hid and saved over 200 British soldiers and assisted if guiding them home. I think we all know how her story ended.
I enjoyed reading this story and recommend it to other readers.
Thank you NetGalley for the copy of this book for review.
Great book. Compelling historical story of WWI.. the bravery of Edith Cavell in the face of danger while treating wounded soldiers was extraordinary. Tragic story but I I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend all to read it. The cover is beautiful.
Well done! Such an enjoyable way to learn history! Edith’s faith as shown in the book was genuine for a devoted believer. Her modest demeanor matches the spiritual temperament of devoted women in her era, and it shows a regard for accuracy on the part of the author. This book was clearly well researched, and the bibliography and questions at the end are a plus.
I’m not sure how I have overlooked this heroine, but I throughly enjoyed reading this story and then looking Edith up. I’ll be sharing this with my daughters as it is a timely reminder to stand with grace and and to love others against the sometimes overwhelming evil in our age. Our daughters need more of these true stories of strength.
The six recently martyred in Tennessee is a poignant reminder that Christianity needs strong roll models to aid in the knowledge that we can stand unwavering in the face of persecution as Edith Cavell has shown.
I wanted to love this one. The cover is gorgeous and I was very excited to read it. Unfortunately it just wasn’t the book for me. I never felt connected to any of the main characters. The dual POV really threw me off and didn’t seem necessary. The plot was very slow. This definitely reads more like a biography. Edith Cavell was a very noble and honorable woman, though I feel like I could have learned all this information from just googling her.
Thank you Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own.
I enjoyed reading the story ot Edith Cavell and the heroic actions she took to rescue the soldiers. I felt the book was well written and contained very typos or other issues. I would recommend this book to others. I didn't know anything about this story so it was interesting to read about another part of WWI.
This was a wonderful story, and one I had never heard. I haven't read or seen much WWI fiction, and this was a great retelling of the true story of Edith Cavell's life. I was fascinated by her story and bolstered by her faith. I really enjoyed Lizzie's character and the other nurses were sweet, but not super memorable. Overall it was an interesting read, and I'd recommend it to historical fiction readers!
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for an advanced copy of this book, all opinions are mine.
Rebecca Connolly is a fantastic historical fiction writer. I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve read by her including her historical romances. This book is the beautifully written story of Edith Cavell who was the Head Nurse at Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels, Belgium during WWI. Her courageous actions were inspirational and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about this little known story in history.
In 1914, the Germans took over Brussels. The new German governor directs Edith, who is the Matron of the Red Cross hospital, and her nurses to guard any prisoners of war they treat. As a devoted Christian believer, Edith has instructed her nurses to treat anyone regardless of what country they are from and refuses to be their jailers. Through her close friend who has ties to the Belgian underground, she treats two British soldiers and helps them escape to freedom. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery as she works to heal and free the Germans’ enemies. Her close friend and fellow nurse Elizabeth helps her on this mission. They risk everything, all under the close scrutiny of the Germans.
I was touched by Edith’s story and her desire to do what she felt she was guided to do. She didn’t hesitate to help others or risk her own life. This was the first I’d heard of this inspiring woman and I’m so glad that she and her fellow nurses will be remembered through this powerful story. The ending provoked all kinds of emotions and I found myself reflecting on what I would have done in her situation.
I read an advanced copy of the book and so I’m not sure what the final product will be like, but I only wished there was a list of the characters and maps included with the book. It would have been so nice to be able to picture where the Berkendael Institute was located. There were also several characters who all played significant roles in the story and I would have liked to have been able to have a quick reference for each of them. All in all though a fantastic read for historical fiction fans. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own and voluntarily given.
Edith Cavell with her work in Belgium during WWI finds herself treating wounded soldiers, no matter which side they fight on. She becomes more embroiled in helping British soldiers to escape their German enemies and her life is jeopardized by her actions. Her strong faith in God helps to make her stand up against heavy odds. An excellent biography of a real life hero and a well respected caregiver; highly recommended reading.
Beautiful, based on a true story. One nurse in Brussels, during WWI struggles to help the resistance everyone who is injured and in danger. She works with the resistance to help those who are injured and have been captured. A true humanitarian and very inspirational story.
Under The Cover Of Mercy is a remarkable true story of the brave and courage’s women, Edith Cavell. A woman who dedicated her life to nursing and God, saving hundreds of lives, those she nursed back to health, both German and Allies and also helping allied soldiers escape occupied Brussels during WW1. Matron Cavell was an extrodianary women that paid the ultimate price. Towards the end there was a lot of religions prayers etc, as an atheist I did find myself skipping those parts, however this heartbreaking novel is a must read, about an inspiring, selfless, loyal and devoted women with an incredible story.
I would like to thank Shadow Mountain Publishing, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read his complimentary copy for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I enjoy reading books that are based somewhat on reality, even if all the facts are not known. That is the case with this book. We learn about Edith Cavell, a nurse during WWI in Belgium that ended up giving up her life while helping soldiers escape the Germans. My heart broke for Edith when she was convicted of treason, but I admired her pluck in standing up for what was right.
This story is told from two points of view - Edith, and her Assistant Matron, Lizzie. At times it took me a minute to figure out whose POV was being told at that moment. I would have liked a clearer delineation of whose perspective we were seeing at that moment. Both of these women were to be admired for the lengths they went to to ensure that the soldiers were not caught by the Germans.
The story contains a lot of dialogue, whether between characters or internally. I was disappointed that there weren't more descriptions of the women, men, or the hospital. We did see some descriptive narrative when they were walking about town and the shops they would pass, and towards the end when Edith was imprisoned and at trial, but not much more than that.
These women and the hospital were part of the Red Cross. I have to admit that I don't know much about how they operate during war or if they are protected from attack, but that was my impression in this book. I would hope that since this is a neutral organization that wants to provide aid to everyone, no matter their heritage, that they are protected by common decency. It did give me the desire to research the Red Cross and its mission.
This is an intriguing tale about Edith Cavell and her mission in life, especially during the war. I appreciated the author's notes at the end that shared more of Edith's history so we could understand her better. Overall, we give it 3 paws up.
A very informative historical fiction novel centering around a nurse during WW1. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the sneak peek in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed this book.
A story of “hope and goodness in the midst of darkness.” In 1914 nurse Edith Cavell was the Matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels, Belgium when the German army took control of the city. She was willing to treat anyone injured, regardless of nationality, despite the danger it put her in. Assisted by the Belgian resistance, Edith secretly helped wounded British soldiers to heal and escape the country without being captured. Her faith and reliance on God sustained her through the trials she faced.
This is a remarkable true story of a brave woman who helped at least 200 soldiers escape to safety. I’m grateful the author shared the story of Edith Cavell because she deserves to be known and remembered. Thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC to use for my review.
These stories are so difficult to hear, but they MUST not be lost. This courageous woman, with God's help and the assistance of the other Berkendael Medical Institute nurses, changed the course of history for approximately 200 individuals. Matron Edith, with her compassionate, calm demeanor listened to her Guide rather than her oppression. Difficult to read? Certainly. But please -- help Edith's legacy live on. Help her story survive. We must never forget.
Thank you, Ms. Connolly, for sharing this with us. While others have mentioned this being a widely known, often-mentioned WWI incident, I'd never heard of it. This remarkable story never once crossed my path, through textbook, literature, lecture, or happenstance ... until now. I find myself both saddened and encouraged. Saddened at the darkness endured, but encouraged by Edith's unwavering, indomitable faith. Ms. Connolly, you have my gratitude.
Thank you, author and publisher, for sharing an advance copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Riveting with a fresh perspective on the time. The writing is well-crafted, the pacing comfortable, strong character development and an intriguing plot. An all-around easy to recommend title for historical fiction lovers.
Intriguing book about an individual I had never heard about before. Very well done as historical fiction, it is reading a novel, not a history book. Suspense, politics, understanding of humanity. Overall pretty good book. Probably best written for an evangelical audience.
Courage, compassion, love of their country, love of God, and truth to their profession is what these nurses were about. In a time of great evil and terror they were a flame of light for those who needed them. Putting everything on the line, even their lives, they helped those that needed their help.
This story takes place during WWI, The Great War, which was the war to end all wars. At least that's what everyone thought. The story is based on real people, real places and real events. It may be a fictional story and some of the characters may be different, but it catches the essence of the time period and the bravery of those brave souls working as nurses under Edith Cavell.
Edith Cavell was one of the most unselfish caring people ever. She cared for her nurses, she cared for the soldiers she helped and she cared for her moral character, and her ideals. She refused to give up her pledge she took as a nurse to help those that needed help and this is what she did. There is even a statue in her honor.
This is a story of how Edith used her hospital as a safe house for the Resistance helping injured and needy allied soldiers to recover and to flee Belgium for a neutral country. In view of the Nazi's, under their noses, and against their rules they worked to free those soldiers fleeing from the Nazi's.
Eventually there would come a reckoning and many of the resistance would pay for helping these soldiers, but many soldiers were saved and those brave helpers never regretted helping them escape although they paid dearly for their parts in this.
It was a wonderful story of brave women, especially Edith and I was awed by the courage and fortitude shown. I would recommend this book.
Thanks to Rebecca Connolly for writing this story, to Shadow Mountain Publishing for publishing it and to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to read and review.
Rebecca Connolly obviously appreciates history and goes in depth with research. Edith Corvell was a Red Cross nurse from England who chose to work at the Burkendael Medical Institute in Brussels even when war broke out. The first world war brought German occupation to the area where she served and taught nursing. This fictionalized account of her bravery, mercy and kindness to her fellow human beings is an honorable story. It causes me to want to learn more about her dedication to all patients in her care which led to her ultimate sacrifice. I received an advanced reader's copy of the book from the publisher and NetGalley. This is my own unsolicited opinion about the book.
I have to say that I wish the characterization in the story had been stronger. I truly found it hard to care for the people in the story, including this amazing woman. I didn't feel the intensity the story of her life deserves until I was well over halfway through the book.
The bravery of this woman and her fellow rescuers of allied troops is astounding. The scenes with building tension and arrests of this group of brave citizens is the saving grace of the story for me. I could definitely see the building evil of the military that turned the world upside down when the second world war devastated humanity.
Rebecca Connolly has always been a favorite author and this book confirms it. The book makes you see things from a different perspective and grand your attention from the very beginning. I recommend it for sure!
I was excited to pick up this book as I don’t often find books based on real events happening during World War I. It follows a nurse named Edith Cavell, who is a Red Cross matron at a nursing school, and her assistant matron Lizzie. As the Germans invade Belgium Edith refuses to only treat German soldiers and prisoners of war. She ends up secretly helping the German enemies. It takes its toll on her, but she chooses to keep living up to her oath as a nurse and as a Christian. This was a touching novel about making the right choices even when faced with the prospect of death.
This is the story of a remarkable woman told in a soul deep and beautiful way.
Connolly brought to light a story of faith, courage and hope that the world needs to remember.
The story was more than just factual events. Connolly tells it in a way that draws you in, both your attention and your heart.
I was immediately connected to Edith and Lizzie and felt all the anxiety and conviction which Rebecca’s words helped to convey about the people and the time.
When a story with such heartache leaves you feeling such hope, you know it was well written.
Historical fiction is the best. This definitely reads more non fiction to me, but that's because it is true. Reading about historical figures, especially more women in history, is a treat not to be ignored. This is a beautiful story of a brave and moral nurse who believes in life and doesn't believe in one being more valuable than another.
To see a woman like that, from history, get recognized in a book like this is powerful.
Under the Cover of Mercy
by Rebecca Connolly
A remarkable story of a nurse during world war 1. Stationed in Belgium during the war as a Red cross school for nurses, this English nurse is inspirational and sadly remembered. The author does a great job describing the problems and dangers of the time. Her characters are remarkable and vivid. Their choices were clearly described and their humanitarian heroics is astounding. Despite the outcome of the story, I hope that her story will remind the reader that behaviors against the Red cross have rules of security, and safety. The laws against persecution of medical personnel would not have been present at the time. Her scam trial and the result is a banner warning that war crimes were perpetrated during that war. Showing the darkness of the struggle, and the unfair, and exploitive behavior of the German occupation.
I think this story would be a great feature in middle schools, especially during women's history month. The matron and her struggle is a remarkable story to inspire young children, for being a nurse, a hero, and a guide to learning and medical schools. She is an unknown hero in America although I do know she was and is remembered in her hometown in England, it is important to show children how kindness, care, and strength are all important factors to personal development. I think the book would create wonderful discussions about the medical profession, and persecution.
Under the Cover of Mercy relays a story that is truly a bit of Great War history. One that should not be forgotten. The progression of the nursing profession Edith Cavell accomplished through her nursing institute and the sacrifices she made should be honored and held in highest esteem.
August 1914-the Great War
Edith Cavell was an English-born matron of a nursing school in Belgium during the time of German occupation. At some point during the war, she begins to take in injured English soldiers as “guests” sent by a benefactor.
Lizzie Wilkins, senior nurse under Edith’s mentorship and authority is not so sure about the steps they are taking to aid soldiers that are not declared to the Germans as POWs. This book bears the perfect title as these men were truly under the cover of mercy.
Written from the POVs of both Edith and Lizzie, the first half of this story slowly builds on their work and relationships then breaks into a heartfelt spiritual arc amidst difficult circumstances. Conolly’s easy writing style and skill at weaving historical facts within her storyline make this journey both palpable and credible all the way to an emotional end.
Book discussion questions are included, making it a great choice for book club. This is also a good choice for those who enjoy historical fiction without romance.
This book is suitable for mature teens and older with no inappropriate intimate scenes and no bad language. I received this book from the author/publisher free of charge, with no expectation of a positive review.
The story of head nurse Edith Cavell shows that even in war, people can show bravery and inspire others.
The author has done a beautiful job and weaving in facts with keeping the story moving.
My only request would to be have a date at the beginning of chapters. It was hard to tell if weeks or months passed sometimes.
My favorite is the tender and loving relationship Edit had with her nurses. They truly learned how to serve others and love completely. She taught them how to be sacrificial especially to the soldiers who were ready to sacrifice their own lives to fight against evil.
What a great read! This book is a beautifully written story that holds your attention from the first page until the last. If you are a fan of historical fiction based on fact, you will love this book. This book deserves more than 5 stars!
I received a complimentary copy from Shadow Mountain Publishing via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
This is the incredible story of Edith Cavell, a nurse in Belgium during World War I. She had the courage to help anyone in need, regardless of what country they were from. Her acts of heroism and selfless nature are well portrayed in this book.
Fans of WWI historical fiction will be fascinated by this compelling and heartbreaking book.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
A devastating, hopeful look at a time in history that seems to be overlooked. It follows two nurses as they strive to do their duty in healing and saving lives. With that, during tumultuous war time, means aiding and helping the governing country's enemy. It was so heart wrenching reading about the horrific events these nurses had to go through. But they worked until the very end to do what they knew was right. It was enlightening, I don't know a ton about events leading up to WWI, nor did I know that Germany was much like they were in WWII during this time. It was heart breaking all of the needless death that happened just because they didn't like where you were from. The nurses the story follows restore your faith in humanity and that if you know it to be true, and helping someone is never wrong!
I love that this book was based on the true story of Edith Cavell and the part she played as a nurse in WWII. Although the story was an important one to tell I found the novel fell a little flat for me. The storyline was very slow going and while I was waiting for eventful things to happen throughout the book, it didn’t really get there until the end.
Glad to have learned about Edith’s story but maybe suited better as a biography instead of fiction.
Thanks to Net Galley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the advanced copy.
I love historical fiction that's based on real people and events because I learn new things. I didn't enjoy history in school because I'm not great at memorizing dates of events but have discovered I love learning history through stories such as this one.
It's 1914 in Brussels and Edith Cavell, Head Nurse (Matron) at Berkendael Medical Institute is told by the new German leaders to guard the wounded Allied POWs being treated at her hospital and prevent them from escaping. Edith was a Christian woman and didn't feel good about healing this soldiers only to have them tortured or executed by the enemy. Edith has a friend with ties to the underground and she and her friend and fellow nurse Lizzie started assisting in helping the soldiers escape.
I'm having a hard time finding the words to describe how I feel about this book. This is an amazing story of courage and faith, not just Edith's but all of the nurses who helped save so many lives. I found it gripping and didn't want to stop reading how these brave nurses defied the Germans. I was heartbroken when Edith is betrayed by someone she trusted and felt for all of her fellow nurses as they had to carry on without her.
I'd never heard of Edith Cavell before but feel everyone should learn of her story. Rebecca Connolly certainly brought this story to life for me--I felt I was there watching Edith and her fellow nurses. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.
This story will pull at your heartstrings and shine a light on a little known section of history! A compelling story of Christianity and compassion for healing those wounded on both sides of a war.
I received an ARC through Netgalley and all opinions are my own.
7.5/10. I typically read WWII historical fiction but am trying to expand my reach into WWI. I found this book to be educational, entertaining, and inspirational. Doing research after the fact, I felt like author Rebecca Connolly did an excellent job of keeping a lot of historical elements in the book, so much so it was difficult to discern what was actually fiction. The way she wrote also allowed for this. I would easily read her other books.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance readers copy of this book.
Edith is a model of leadership under duress. Lizzie and the other Red Cross Nurses work tirelessly in increasingly challenging situations during the invasion of Belgium during World War II. The women work under neutrality and the expectations of the Germans.
Not at all what I was expecting but a wonderful read about a nurse who does everything she can, and more, in a time of war. Very sad ending but great historical context.
This was a fascinating story and rich in historical detail. I have such admiration for Edith and the other nurses as they used their compassion to save the Allies
Many thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Rebecca Connolly throws us right into daily life in the Red Cross hospital under German occupation. Edith Cavell serves as their beloved matron who makes a decision that will forever alter the lives of her subordinates: ignore those who need their help or put all their lives at risk to save the “enemy”. When she chooses the latter, she’s sent on a collision course with a German high command willing to to prove just how different the war will be.
✒️: I think I’ve finally found a book I actually enjoyed this year, even if I did finish it way later than I hoped. And it’s been a minute since I’ve written a review, but “Under the Cover of Mercy” certainly deserves the praise.
Women’s experiences in war is an under-covered facets of history, too many stories lost because they aren’t always the most overt tales of bravery under fire. And while Edith Cavell may not have been forgotten in the interim, her story isn’t certainly not as widely covered as it should be. Many of us know about the Red Cross nurse executed for aiding in the escape of allied soldiers in the early years of WWI, but that doesn’t mean we know who she was behind the veil of nursing.
I think Connolly does an excellent job putting readers in the nurses’ shoes, serving a higher cause in the midst of a chaotic and terrifyingly grand war. Life under an occupation is far from easy, but the women in the hospital do their best to treat all of their patients as human beings, regardless of the flag they bear.
Every character is depicted as so very human: people that make mistakes; underestimate their enemy; trust the wrong person. But they’re all given a propensity for doing good in a world oversaturated with evil, exactly as it was one hundred years ago. Although we know the ending already, it doesn’t diminish the story that needed to be told. The reminder that it’s always possible to be a good person no matter the circumstances.
Highly recommend checking this out!
When it comes to historical fiction, there are certain time periods that seem to overshadow others. I often felt like WWII gets way more attention than WWI. So, I was excited to read a tale from WWI written with a strong Christian worldview.
By the time I was done reading, I was ready to dig more into the life of Edith Cavell and others who aided those fighting the Germans.
I did not get hooked really quickly as there were times when the inner dialog for both Edith and her main assistant, Lizzie, drove me a little batty. I understood the reason for it (laying out the need to live out Christian values and their nursing call), but the repetitiveness still bugged me a bit.