The Lieutenant's Nurse

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

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.


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).


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:
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I’ve read a lot of World War II historical fiction, so I thought I’d seen it all. In The Lieutenant’s Nurse, Ackerman explores a different aspect of the war. The story takes place in Honolulu during and after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in December 1941. Of course I learned about the attack in school, but really enjoyed delving deeper into the details of this day and its aftermath in this evocative story. 

The main character is Eva Cassidy, a nurse from Michigan who sets off on a ship to Hawaii to help the war effort. We soon learn she is escaping a past full of secrets — uncovering those secrets and how they will affect her future helps propel the story forward. When Eva meets Lieutenant Clark Spencer on the ship, they both feel an instant connection that only deepens when they cross paths again on the island. 

Once Eva reaches her post, she meets the other nurses at the hospital, forming lasting bonds while they work together to care for the soldiers gravely injured in the bombings. Ackerman does a wonderful job highlighting the lushness of Hawaii and how it contrasts with the gruesome horrors of war. A beautifully written historical romance, this book also has a touch of mystery and a bit of military intrigue. Fans of World War II fiction will devour this one. And isn’t that cover gorgeous???

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced review copy.
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Oh my! Overall, I really didn't dig the melodrama that was the main vein of this story, but I loved that it surrounded the popular " prior knowledge of Japan's planned attack"on Pearl Harbor.
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I love novels that delve into a bit of history and since I found myself in bed rather sick, The Lieutenant's nurse by Sara Ackerman was perfect for my mood. I have to be honest, the fact that one of the characters in the book was a beloved faithful dog really won my heart. Aside from that, I loved how she eloquently described the grim realty of war. How a perfectly beautiful, peaceful place can transform overnight. 

While the book does slow down a bit in the middle, I did not mind it too much. The story quickly picks up pace again. It is definitely a book you can't put down as you near the end.
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Unfortunately, the formatting of this book on Kindle was atrocious, which highly affected my review. I contacted netgalley about this but they just told me to download it as PDF and read it from my laptop. I am not going to read it from my laptop. So I had to slog my way through the kindle version, rife with errors. 

But what I read, I liked. WWII Hawaii. Pearl Harbor. An army corps nurse harboring secrets. A love story. But the formatting just got in the way of my enjoying this book.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Harlequin-MIRA through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

The Lieutenant's Nurse by Sara Ackerman tells the story of the days surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor and the intriguing events that question weather or not the Japanese attack was actually a  surprise. Your imagination will surly run wild with each page turned.

When Eva Cassidy sailed from the shores of San Francisco on the luxurious Lurline en route to the islands of Hawaii, she could have never expected what lay ahead. The terror  that would happen in a mere weeks time is unthinkable. Eva has left her home in Michigan leaving behind a sister and a shadow of secrets, to start a new job in the Army Nurse Corps.  While aboard the SS Lurline, she meets Lieutenant Clark Spencer, a linguist and code breaker for the Navy. The moment Eva meets Clark, there is a unmistakable connection as if fate has brought them together. However, a boyfriend stationed at Pearl Harbor complicates things and when Eva arrives in Hawaii, she hopes her new position at Tripler Hospital can be a distraction from the handsome Lieutenant.

The morning of December 7th dawns and the Japanese have begun their attack on Pearl Harbor, destroying its whole pacific fleet and killing and wounding thousands. The war has arrived to the United States and Eva and her fellow nurses must band together to save lives and bring comfort to the dying. But when the Lieutenant is brought in critically wounded, Eva can no longer deny her feelings.

The Lieutenant's Nurse is a riveting tale of courage and love, with engrossing characters and a suspenseful plot.

Praise for Sara Ackerman's The Lieutenant's Nurse!

Review is posted on both Goodreads and Amazon.
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