The Nightingale Christmas Show

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

The Nightingale Christmas Show by Donna Douglas takes us to London’s East End in November of 1945.  The war is finally over, and Matron Kathleen Fox is eager to see the Nightingale restored.  It suffered from bombings and they lost some treasured staff members.  Kathleen is not sure she is up to the task and is considering a new position in Lancashire.  She would dislike seeing the new assistant matron, Charlotte Davis take over her position.  Charlotte manages to fault with every ward they visit plus she lacks warmth and empathy.  Charlotte is all for efficiency and order.  One evening Kathleen and her friend, Violet Tanner enjoy a show at Players Theatre Club and run into Kathleen’s former lover, James Cooper who is accompanied by his wife, Simone.  James pays Kathleen a visit the next day and presents her with unexpected proposition.  To raise morale in the hospital with the patients and staff, Kathleen decides they will host a Christmas Show.  She decides to put Charlotte in charge of the project much to the assistant matron’s dismay.  The Christmas Show could just be the boost everyone needs if Charlotte can pull it off.  

The Nightingale Christmas Show is written differently from the other novels in the series.  The story is told from different characters point-of-view.  We get to see how each person views what is happening at the hospital along with what is going on in their life.  I found it a little strange and repetitive.  We start with one character, go forward a few days and then it switches to a different character and goes back to the beginning (and repeat).    While it is a different format, I still enjoyed catching up on the lives of the nurses at the Nightingale.  I would have preferred the story told from the third person (my personal preference).  However, this did not detract from my enjoyment of the story.  I recommend reading the books in the Nightingales series in order.  Each book builds upon the previous one in the series.  We get to catch up with Kathleen Fox, Peggy Atkins, Miriam Trott, Violet Tanner, Dora Riley and Veronica Hanley (now a ghost who likes to bother Kathleen).  The characters are friendly, likeable and well-developed.  I have enjoyed following these ladies on their journey as they became nurses and navigated the war.  I would have liked to know more about Dora Riley and the other trainees from the earlier books.  The Nightingale Christmas Show has a great ending, but it seemed like this was the final book (I hope not).  I think it would be great if the author introduced a new set of nursing students to the series and we can follow them on their journey along with our regular characters.  I am giving The Nightingale Christmas Show 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  If you like the show Call the Midwife, then you will appreciate the Nightingale series.  The Nightingale Christmas Show is a heartwarming tale that could make a pleasant read during the holiday season.
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This is the ninth book in the best selling series featuring the nurses at the Nightingale Hospital.  We have loved each and every one of the series and this one is no different but I will say more about that in a bit.

The characters in ‘The Nightingale Christmas Show’ are all realistic.  Mrs. GBG particularly found the Matron and the Ward Sisters to be authentic and made her reminisce about what the Matron and Ward Sisters were like when she did her training at DMH.  Donna perfectly captured the sense of fear that the staff nurses and student nurses had when they knew that the Ward Sisters and/ or Matron were about.  Mrs. GBG said that all nurses can relate to having worked for someone like the Assistant Matron, a Miss Charlotte Davis at the Nightingale Hospital.  She is an absolute nightmare and she is never satisfied with anything.  She always has to pick fault and never seems to give compliments out.  She is a lover of romance novels and in one author in particular but she doesn’t let on to anybody.  The Assistant Matron assumes control of organising the Christmas show for the patients of the Nightingale Hospital.  However, the show does not get off to a great start because she successfully manages to alienate those volunteering for the show.  I wondered which charm school she went to because she really did need to get a refund.  However, something happens, which could lead to a thaw in her personality but as to what happens, well you are just going to have to read the book for yourself.    I loved the character of Peggy, who is a volunteer on the Childrens Ward.  She is married to a rather unpleasant character and not only does she live with him, but she also has to put up with her sister and her mother in law.  Nothing Peggy does ever seems to be enough or to be right.  In fact her home life is hell and I really felt for her because her home life seemed pretty much like a prison sentence.  I was so rooting for her to see the light, tell her husband, sister and mother in law what for and to leave them all to be miserable together.  Peggy deserves so much more than that miserable lot.  As to whether or not she manages to do that well you are just going to have to read the book for yourself.

We both agree that ‘The Nightingale Christmas Show’ is superbly written.  It’s written in a slightly different way to the other books in the series in that each chapter focuses on one character in particular and it is written from their point of view.  This really works and it isn’t confusing.  Reading ‘The Nightingale Christmas Show’ became seriously addictive and once we picked the book up, we found that we just couldn’t put it down.  We had to read on and on to see what happened to the characters and if they were going to find their happy ever after.  We were gripped from the first word on the first page and before we knew it we had finished the book, which we were both so disappointed about, because we were enjoying the book so much that we just wanted the story to continue.  The pages were turning that fast that it was almost as if they were turning themselves.  Donna Douglas clearly cares about her characters and what happens to them, which really does come across in her writing.  Reading this book felt like reuniting with old friends.  I became so absorbed in the story that I felt as though I was an invisible witness to everything that was happening on the wards and as though I had dived into the pages.  I really did feel as though I had been through the emotional wringer after I had finished the book with all the feelings of hope, despair, joy, happiness and sadness and well you get the picture.  Ultimately what I will say is that the ending to the book left both me and Mrs. GBG with a smile on our faces but that is all I am going to say.

In short, we totally and utterly loved reading ‘The Nightingale Christmas Show’ and we can’t wait to see what comes next from the hugely talented Donna Douglas.  We would recommend this series and this author to anybody and everybody.  We award this book 5* out of 5* but we would have awarded it more stars if we could have because we really did enjoy the book that much.
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I really enjoyed this book.  Excellent storyline and great main characters.  I would recommend this book.
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This is such a good read!  It is the ideal book to cosy up with on a cold autumn or winter's day, grab a warm drink, bar of chocolate or slice of cake and let the story envelop you!

I really enjoyed the story, it is set at a great pace and the plot is superb, it is one of the best fiction books I have read set in WWII for a long time, and I read an awful lot of historical fiction books!  The characters are great and I loved the mix they bring to the book and the interaction between them really carries well in the story. 

The whole book has been cleverly crafted and it is a fantastic festive story - 5 stars from me - I loved it!!
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The ideal book to cosy up with on a chilly winters day. 
Set just after WW11 in a hospital this book is full of secrets, relationships, romance and the odd splash of humour and sadness.The characters from all walks of life are cleverly intertwined by the author,with the organising of the Hospital Christmas show being the thing that brings them all together,but not before we read each of their individual life stories of how they got there.
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.This is the ninth book in this series and this time the story starts in early December 1945, Matron Fox of Nightingale Hospital has a new Assistant Matron, Charlotte Davis. Assistant Matron Davis is a stickler for giving orders and expecting others to obey her. 

Matron Fox asks Assistant Matron Davis to run the Christmas show but not having done anything like it before and not giving anyone the opportunity to help her, she orders everyone around which causes problems and walkouts. Charlotte Davis is left without a show to put on until help comes in the form of Sister Tanner.

The book is not just about the Christmas show, it delves into the lives of six nurses, all with different problems, the struggles they have in their everyday lives and the way they deal with life in post-war Britain. A great book with good strong characters which I thoroughly enjoyed.
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