The Lieutenant's Nurse

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

This was a very interesting book but it would not hold my interest very. long. I just couldn't keep focused on it enough to finish it.
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I loved this book and found it to be quite the page turner for me.  It starts off with Eva Cassidy boarding the steamship SS Lurline on route to Hawaii as an Army Corps nurse in late November 1941.  She hopes to make a fresh start despite leaving scandal and a sick sister behind in Michigan.  Aboard the SS Lurline, Eva immediately forms a friendship and feelings for Lieutenant Clark Spencer.   This is a problem because Eva is supposed to be reuniting with her boyfriend who is stationed in Hawaii.  Upon reaching Hawaii, Eva's nursing skills and loyalties are tested as Pearl Harbor is attacked and she must help to keep the many injured American soldiers alive while also battling her own conflicting emotions.  How long will she be able to keep her secrets and other people's secrets intact?  As a historical fiction enthusiast, I thought the author did a superb job of showing all the details of the Pearl Harbor attack.  I could really picture it in my mind as if I was watching it on a movie screen.  I literally could not put the book down from this point of the story on and became emotionally invested in all the major characters and even some of the minor characters.  Go Brandy! (The little dog was smuggled into the hospital to help bring comfort to the soldiers.)  I thought the author also had a very interesting and creative interpretation of what could have happened leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  I will be checking out other books by Sara Ackerman as I found her to be a superb storyteller.  I am very grateful to Harlequin-Mira and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.  All thoughts expressed in this review are my honest opinions.
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Late November and December 1941, are tense times for the United State.  Britain and Germany are at war, relations with Japan are deteriorating rapidly, and spies and counter-spies are hard at work.  Everyone expects that war with Japan will occur, but the United States prefers that Japan make the first strike.

In “The Lieutenant’s Nurse”, Sara Ackerman brings to light a little known fact that radio intercepts from Japan hint at a large naval armada heading for Hawaii.  The luxury liner Lurline is traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii with not only citizen passengers but military personnel assigned to Pearl Harbor.  In her fictionalized account Lieutenant Clark Spencer, a code-breaker for the United States Navy is aboard as is Army Nurse Eva Cassidy.  When suspicious transmissions from Japan are intercepted by the radioman on the Lurline, Lieutenant Spencer is asked to assist.  Eva and Clark have formed a friendship which may or may not lead to romance as the world is in chaos at that time.  Lieutenant Spencer tries to send information to the Navy and government officials that there is a chance that Japan is on its way to attack Hawaii.  Most of the Pacific fleet is anchored at Pearl Harbor, a grave mistake that could have prevented the loss of our fleet.  If those message intercepts had been acknowledged and acted upon, perhaps the Pearl Harbor attack would never have happened.  Although this account is fictionalized, there has been intense speculation that our government knew of the threat, but held off acting on it in order to bring Japan into war with the U.S.

I very much enjoyed this novel.  The struggle between what Lieutenant Spencer knew and was authorized to reveal provided the suspense of this novel.  Also, Eva was harboring a secret which the reader was not privy to until almost the end of the book.  That provided a hint of mystery and kept the reader’s attention to the end.  I commend Ms. Ackerman on a job well done!

I downloaded a Kindle copy of this book from MIRA and NetGalleycom in return for my honest review.
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Reviewed by AnnMarie:
The Lieutenant's Nurse is a standalone book by Sara Ackerman.

I don't even know where to begin when trying to review this book sufficiently enough to make you understand just how good it is.

I guess, as they say, let's start at the very beginning...

Eva Cassidy joined the army as a nurse and her journey begins when after stationed in Hawaii she finds herself on the steamship SS Lurline making her sea voyage there. She has a boyfriend waiting for her and looks forward both to seeing him, and getting away from a terrible scandal she was involved with at home.

Lt. Clark Spencer is also on board the SS Lurline on the way to Hawaii. He is a naval intelligence officer. The moment he and Eva see each other there is an instant attraction. What starts out as a friendship between them with Eva having a boyfriend and her believing Clark is married, could become so much more if given the chance. 

While onboard Clark discovers that the Japanese could be targeting Hawaii rather than Singapore where the war office believed the next attack could be. As soon as they arrive he needs to speak with his superiors to let them know what is happening. In the meantime, he takes the chance to warn Eva what might happen and where to go if she needed a safe place to run to. He tells her in secrecy and she promises not to say anything.

As you know from history Pearl Harbour was attacked, and in this book we see Eva and her fellow nurses deal with the fall out from the attack. The descriptions of the patients and how heartbreaking nursing them was made for a very emotional read. The lives that were lost and knowing that perhaps something could have been done to prevent the attack made me so angry. You add the facts, to the fictional side of the story, the possible romance with Clark, who yes is on the scene, Billy (Eva's boyfriend) and also Eva's secret scandal from back home and you have a book that you won't want to put down until you finish it. I couldn't wait to find out how it could end happily if indeed happiness could be a thing after the tragedy that was Pearl Harbour's attack.

Seriously I can't put into words adequately just how much emotion this book made me feel. I cried and I smiled, I felt anger, pity and sympathy. Seriously this book will make you run through the whole gamut of emotions. Despite the sadness of the story, there was a good ending for Eva. I kind of wish there was an epilogue letting us have a bit more of her happy ending, letting us see that despite the horrors she had been through that she could move on with her life and her love. Was that love Billy, or Clark, you will have to read to find out.

Just have your hankies at the ready, I think you will need them. Oh and make sure you read the authors notes at the end!
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READING PROGRESS
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The Lieutenant's Nurse is an enjoyable quick read. It is a combination of historical fiction, romance, and thriller. The main character is Eva Cassidy. She is a very strong character who experiences some career ending things but is able to move through them and come out the other side in a better place. The novel bounces between the fictional story and real communications prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor which adds some great historical elements. I definitely recommend this one for anyone looking for a fast read or an empowering book.
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Favorite Quotes:

Eva had been shown a Pro-kit— sulfa ointment, directions and a soaped-up cloth— and told to hand them out to every soldier who left the hospital. A Good Soldier Will Not Get Venereal Disease was stamped across the front.

Murmurs erupted and the room cleared faster than if someone had let loose a bagful of snakes.

He felt as though he were watching a war movie, his eyes unable to believe what he saw. He kept thinking about that first Zero and how close it had been. The bastard had actually waved. That face, he would never forget.

I swear to you, that morgue right there is enough to turn anyone against a war. Even the most hardened general. You ask me, it ought to be required visiting for those folks.


My Review:

This was an engaging and poignantly written tale which combined fact and fiction, although, there were more surprising factual events than I was ever aware of or would have expected. The premise was unique and entertaining, with writing that squeezed my heart while continually plucking at my curiosity.  I enjoyed the well-crafted mystery as well as the interplays between characters as much as I appreciated the historical significance of the story.  Ms. Ackerman’s characters were complicated, smart, disarmingly endearing, and well fleshed out.  Her scenes were lushly described and well textured to involve and employ all the senses.  And despite the traumatic backdrop of the carnage of war, the emotional tone was generally well balanced with surprising twists and unexpected bursts of wit tucked in. 

I live in Hawaii and though I wasn’t around during the attack on Pearl Harbor, I am old but not that old, it was several levels beyond cool to read a book that mentioned quintessential local landmarks that were familiar and special to me.  Some are no longer standing such as the iconic Dole Cannery water tower, which was shaped and painted like a pineapple; where else in the world would you ever see one of those?  Having trod many of the same steps, it was supremely pleasing to be able to read of the locales they frequented and know exactly where they were and what it looked like. I’ve also sucked back drinks at sunset at the illustrious Royal Hawaiian Hotel, which is still lovely and still pink. And I could hear the crunch and taste the pleasant crispness as the nurses snacked on Saloon Pilot crackers, which are the absolute best and still baked fresh in Honolulu.  Reading that scene had me cheating on my diet while digging my own tin out of the pantry and grabbing the guava jelly for an afternoon treat.  That extra pound on the scale tomorrow will be blamed on Sara Ackerman’s charismatic storytelling
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December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy.  Eva Cassidy is on her way across the ocean to Hawaii for a new assignment as a nurse at Pearl Harbor in November 1941.  Her sweetheart, Billy, is stationed on the island and awaits her there.  Her father’s dying wish was that she marry Billy.  

Life is complicated for Eva.  Her sister Ruby is back in Michigan trying to recover the use of her legs after a bout with Polio.  Eva has changed her name and signed up as an army nurse after an unfortunate incident at the hospital she worked at.  Several flashbacks throughout the novel detail the mystery behind this event.  On the boat over, Eva meets the handsome Lieutenant Clark and their chemistry can’t be denied.  Unfortunately, once the attack at Pearl Harbor happens, romance is put on the back burner.  Will Eva be able to move on from her past?  Will she find love with Billy or Clark?  Will all three survive the attack on Pearl Harbor?  Why does it seem that mysterious forces do not want anyone to know that there will be an attack?

This novel truly captures the horror of a peaceful tropical island facing a sudden surprising attack.  It was a gripping to read about the horror of the attack as well as Eva working as a nurse in the hospital dealing with not only the aftermath, but the fear that the island will imminently be invaded.  I loved the sisterhood between nurses.

I also enjoyed the start of the story with the cruise to Hawaii.  The tension between Lt. Clark and Eva was palpable.  The characters were very entertaining and I also loved the mystery of Lt. Clark starting to figure out that there is a Japanese force amassing near the Hawaii islands.  

Also, as a fan of Georgette Heyer – I loved that The Spanish Bride was mentioned as reading material on the boat ride over.

Favorite Quotes:
“Eva was well versed in lakes, but here in San Francisco, the air was thick with salt and the tang of it.”

“Blaming is a waste of time.  Nobody knows what the future holds, and of course if you had, you would have done things differently.”

“War suddenly seemed different when it was down to the lowest denominator.  Man on man.”

Overall, The Lieutenant’s Nurse is a riveting World War II novel that shows the nurse’s side of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It also has a nice romance and a couple of mysteries.

Book Source:  E-book Review Copy for being a part of the TLC book Tour.  Thank-you!
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Review will be posted on 4/9/19

It's late November of 1941 and all history buffs know that in a few days the attack on Pearl Harbor will occur.  Eva Cassidy is aboard a ship to head to Hawaii as a nurse in the Army Corp. As much as she doesn't want to leave her sister behind, she had to move on to find work and escape the unfortunate events that occurred to her back home in Michigan.  Hawaii will be way better than her sleepy her sleepy hometown, right? While aboard the ship, she meets Lieutenant Clark Spencer, a man who has attracted her attention from the very first sight. She is drawn to him, even though she knows it's probably a bad idea and he seems to be just as secretive as she is. Lieutenant Spencer works for the Navy and is fluent in Japanese, which makes him valuable. He learns a few things while aboard the ship that indicate that perhaps Japan is on the move with its sights set on Pearl Harbor.  Meanwhile, Eva and Lieutenant Spencer spend more time together and they both can't deny that there are sparks, but there's one problem. Eva has a boyfriend waiting for her in Hawaii.  Time ticks on and as we get closer to December 7, 1941 disaster strikes challenging both Eva and Clark in ways they never imagined.  Sara Ackerman's The Lieutenant's Nurse is a compelling historical novel perfect for fans of romance, American history, and non-stop action.

I really liked Eva from the start in The Lieutenant's Nurse. I knew there was a good reason she left Michigan, but the details weren't revealed quickly.  This definitely piqued my curiosity.  I liked that she was smart, determined, and a go-getter.  She wasn't the meek and mild type, which if you are going to be a nurse in the Army Corp, I imagine that is a good thing.    Eva is running from her past, but she's headed straight for Pearl Harbor, which obviously is going to be an even more challenging situation than facing the demons in her life.

I adored Eva's relationship with Lieutenant Clark in The Lieutenant's Nurse. I was rooting for them from the beginning despite the fact that she had a boyfriend.  While I don't usually like novels that have a love triangle, this one worked and was done very well.  Lieutenant Clark was also a great character. He wasn't just depicted as a handsome solider; he was a well-developed character and his past also held many secrets. I liked learning more about him and especially enjoyed the aspect of his job where he tried to interpret Japan's movements.

Speaking of the Japanese, I was thoroughly blown away by the research that Ackerman put into The Lieutenant's Nurse. I have studied Pearl Harbor in the past, visited it, and have watched a few shows on it, so needless to say, I had a decent amount of background information on the topic. But Ackerman provides some details to the events surrounding Pearl Harbor that I didn't realize and that made the story that much more compelling. Pearl Harbor will forever be one of the most moving places that I have ever visited and I think Ackerman truly brought to life the devasting moments of the sneak attack and what followed.

Fans of Pearl Harbor, WII stories, as well as action tales will enjoy The Lieutenant's Nurse. It's going down as one of my favorite historical novels of the year and I can't wait to read more of Ackerman's work in the future.
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This novel takes place in 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and started their war with the United States. Along with the story, there are copies of messages that were sent from Japan to their navy and the pilots before the attack started which made the story more realistic. Over 2400 people were killed when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This number includes the US military, the Japanese pilots, the nurses and the civilians. There were less than 100 nurses working the hospital at Pearl Harbor when the attack happened and they were totally overwhelmed with the number of causalities that were brought to the hospital. Hawaii had been considered one of the easiest and most beautiful places to work as a nurse but after the attack, it was no longer viewed that way.

Eva had never even seen the ocean when her ship left California to head to Hawaii where she was assigned as an Army nurse. She was running away from her home in Michigan and there were more reasons than just to avoid another bad Michigan winter. A friend of her father's who was in the military was waiting for her in Hawaii and even though she thought she loved him, she became very close to Clark, a Navy intelligence officer that she meets on the ship. When Eva arrives at the hospital, she immediately bonds with the other nurses. It is this bond of sisterhood that holds them all together in the days following the attack when they are get so many wounded people to care for. And the danger that finds her threatens everything she holds dear. Amid the chaos and heartbreak, Eva will have to decide who to trust and how far she will go to protect those she loves.

I found it refreshing to read a war book with the nurses being such an important part of the story. They have been ignored in the history books for way too long. Along with the historical part of the story there is a beautiful love story between Eva and Clark that helped show there is hope for the future even in the midst of war.

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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This book had an interesting theme but it was hard for me to get into. I couldn’t understand the characters and the storyline was hard to follow.
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The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sarah Ackerman
 
Brief Summary: On the eve of Pearl Harbor, Eva travels to Hawaii to be an Army nurse at Tripler Army Medical Center. On her trip she meets and falls for Lt. Clark Spencer, who receives information of the attack prior. In an interesting twist of events, Eva must decide who to trust in order to save those she cares about. 

Highlights: I absolutely loved the up close and personal look at Pearl Harbor. I visited Pearl Harbor six years ago and still learned new things about the politics behind the attack and the human cost in the aftermath. The descriptions of vibrant tropical Hawaii are beautiful and made me ache for a return trip.  She really brings 1941 Hawaii to life. This book starts slow, but once Pearl Harbor was hit I couldn’t put it down and stayed up until 3 am to finish it. The love story was great. Eva is a nurse fiercely dedicated to the troops and a very relatable heroine.

What makes this book unique? I don’t recall another seminal historical fiction work on the topic. 

Explanation of Rating: 4.5/5: This book puts a face to a turning point in American history. 

Psychology Factors: It gives a great look at the acute stress reactions to the bombing as well as the resilience in the responders and survivors.

This book isn’t generating the hype it deserves! Perfect for WWII enthusiasts and historical fiction fans. Book clubs that like history will find plenty to discuss. Don’t miss this and you will thank me later. I already purchased a paper copy!

Thank you to Net Galley and Harlequin for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review
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Very interesting and enjoyable work of historical fiction. I was delighted that the book was set during the attack on Pearl Harbor as I really had not read much about it. If you enjoyed the movie Pearl Harbor, you will enjoy this book which also tells a fictional backstory surrounding the event. Part love story, part mystery, there's a little in here for all to enjoy.
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Underwhelming. I had high hopes for this one but just didn’t click with it. The characters were flat, the plot was predictable, and there’s nothing about it to set it apart from any other WWII novel out there. My favorite part was reading the Author’s Note at the end and discovering that this novel was written as a kind of What If story that had happened to her grandmother. Love the real life connection. Didn’t love the execution.
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Eva is used to lakes but the ones in San Francisco  had salt in the air and dead fish. Eva has graduated nursing school. She has joined the army nurse corps and is going to hawaii.Eva has a stylish sister who had polio and is now paralyzed. many on the ship are seasick.There is talk of war and the japenes.As a nurse in the army eva is not allowed to wed. She has a serious boyfriend named Billy.I thought some parts were slow and boring. I loved Eva and how she spoke and carried herself
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The Lieutenant’s Nurse marks my first experience with Sara Ackerman’s work and while I struggled with a few scenes, I feel comfortable recommending it those with an appreciation for light and/or romantic war era fiction. 

I found Eva’s backstory fun to read and I liked how her experiences and secrets came into play over the course of the story. I also liked how Ackerman used transmitted messages to keep her audience apprised of the larger conflict and appreciate how the tactic kept Clark relevant throughout the narrative by drawing attention to his role and responsibilities as an intelligence officer. 

Having said that, I have to admit I struggled with how much the novel resembled Pearl Harbor (2001). It started when I realized the novel, which follows a nurse name Evelyn, is a love triangle set against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor but it settled hard in the scene that unfolded on Tripler Hospital’s lawn. 

- A Japanese doctor being verbally accosted by the wounded as Evelyn writes Ms and Ts and victims in lipstick… (re: 2:01:09 in the film)
- Evelyn telling the wounded they’ll be fine knowing it’s a lie… (re: 2:01:20 in the film)
- Grace’s falling prey to fear as Evelyn reminds her of her duties might as well have been Sandra (played by Jennifer Garner) losing it as Evelyn (played by Kate Beckinsale) tells her to get back to work… (re: 2:01:55 in the film)

The fact that Ackerman tempers the intensity of attack with the survival of a dog didn’t help matters (re: 2:03:30 in the film) and while I acknowledge the plausibility of the content, I really struggled with how neatly they aligned to Michael Bay’s vision. 

Ackerman's research regarding the attack is illustrated throughout the novel, the emotions of the leads are well-drawn, and I thought the cover-up she crafted imaginative. I can't say I found the story wholly original, but I don't regret the time I spent with it.
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To say that this cover caught my eye is an understatement. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It’s elegant, bright and exotic looking, but with the air of familiarity as a recognizable piece of historical fiction.

I was eager to read it and thrilled when my copy came. From the description, it sounded a little like Pearl Harbor the movie.

Now no judgement but I loved that movie. I didn’t care for Josh Hartnett but overall I loved that movie and I still watch it every time that it’s on.

So in my mind I was secretly hoping that this book was going to be, at least a little, like the film.

Summary

November, 1941. She’s never even seen the ocean before, but Eva Cassidy has her reasons for making the crossing to Hawaii, and they run a lot deeper than escaping a harsh Michigan winter. Newly enlisted as an Army Corps nurse, Eva is stunned by the splendor she experiences aboard the steamship SS Lurline; even more so by Lt. Clark Spencer, a man to whom she is drawn but who clearly has secrets of his own. Eva’s past—and the future she’s trying to create—means that she’s not free to follow her heart. Clark is a navy intelligence officer, and he warns her that the United States won’t be able to hold off joining the war for long, but nothing can prepare them for the surprise attack that will change the world they know.

In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Eva and her fellow nurses band together for the immense duty of keeping the American wounded alive. And the danger that finds her threatens everything she holds dear. Amid the chaos and heartbreak, Eva will have to decide whom to trust and how far she will go to protect those she loves.

Set in the vibrant tropical surroundings of the Pacific, The Lieutenant’s Nurse is an evocative, emotional WWII story of love, friendship and the resilient spirit of the heroic nurses of Pearl Harbor. (summary from Goodreads).

Review

So was this book like the movie, not really, but there were things that reminded me of the film. Obviously the film Pearl Harbor and this book have absolutely nothing to do with each other—they are independent entities and about the only thing they had in common was that two people, a nurse and a Lieutenant find love in the middle of a tragedy and war all set in Pearl Harbor on the eve of the attack. That’s where the similarities end.

I finished this book in a matter of days and found that I really enjoyed it. There were things that bothered me with the dialogue, but they were minor in comparison to the overall story. There were a few words or terms that I like to think of as ‘period language’ that the characters used like ‘gee-wiz’ or ‘golly she’s nice’ or things like that, but then there were other more modern phrases mixed in and I felt that distracting.

The beginning of the book was excellent and the romance between Lt Spencer and Eva was interesting and full of potential, but then once they landed in Hawaii, that’s where things just fizzled out for me and I lost interest in their romance. For something that was put forward do prominently in the beginning, it just didn’t carry through the entire length of the novel which I felt disappointed with.

But what I did love was the setting and how well developed Eva’s story was. I loved reading about her back story and how she came to be in a position at Pearl Harbor. The nursing aspect was interesting and I loved reading about how the hospitals, nurses, and doctors stepped up to the plate.

At the end of the day I felt that this book was worthy of a 4 star rating. It was a great read with a few minor stylistic things that I wished had been different, but on the whole I felt that it was a fun read and I look forward to reading more books by this author!
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I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Sadly, there was a lot of discrimination against women in this book. Doctor’s acted like all-knowing assholes towards women, and the women barely stood up for themselves, afraid if they did they’d be fired and/or worse. It infuriated me how a lot of the nurses in this book were treated, as if they were to be tolerated for their unusual ways and not meant to be taken seriously in a ‘man’s world’. Ugh! 

The historical aspects of the book were fascinating to read, set before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Normally the historical books that I read are focused ON the event, not the months leading up to the attack. It was an interesting read, and I give it slight bonus points for taking a different approach than what most authors generally use. 

I know very little about Pearl Harbor. My grandfather’s time, and I didn’t have much interest in American History. I was more interested in Ancient History like with the Mayans and the Greeks and the Romans. Pearl Harbor was only of vague interest because I knew my grandfather knew people who were a part of that history, so that was part of why I selected this book for review. Another reason was because I wanted to read more ‘recent’ history, and because the story itself sounded interesting. 

And it was, though not as good as I hoped it would be. It seemed to be strongly geared towards Eva finding a man to help her be more ‘controlled’ and less independent. It was very frustrating to read her falling for such an egotistical ass, and while eventually the guy lead character grew on me, it was a very long eventually to get there and he still wasn’t my favorite book boyfriend ever. It seemed to me like Eva was trying to hard to be the well-liked and normal nurse, as opposed to getting shit done and taking no prisoners approach. 

Overall, I’m giving this 3/5 stars. Originally, it’s 2.5 rounded up to a solid 3 because of how interesting the historical bits were, and I *did* like Eva’s character, I just didn’t much like the story.
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This novel starts in 1941 with Eva, a nurse, who has enlisted in the army, getting on a boat to Hawaii to escape her life, thinking she is going to a pretty peaceful place - but of course unbeknownst to her, the Pearl Harbor attack is going to take place soon. I really enjoy reading World War II fiction, but I don't think I've ever read a book about Pearl Harbor before, so I really enjoyed learning a little more about that, and the Hawaii setting. This book also had a good mix of character work, romance, and action. A strong 4 stars, maybe even 4.25.
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The Lieutenant's Nurse is a beautifully written story of love set amid the devastation of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Sara Ackerman blends romance, mystery and a bit of intrigue in yet another story set in the beauty of Hawaii.
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“Because women are natural nurturers. At least most of us are. We know how to put the patient at ease, willing to hold a hand or whisper comforting words. It helps them heal. And that is a step most men are woefully unprepared for, especially in a tough case.”

A sweet romance you should read yourself! I strongly recommended this novel!

Full review: https://literatureisliving.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/the-lieutenants-nurse-by-sara-ackerman/
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