#BookReview by Lou of Frontline By Dr. Hilary Jones @DrHilaryJones @welbeckpublish #WorldWar1 #HistoricalFiction #SpanishFlu #Frontline #GeneralFiction

Frontline
By Dr. Hilary Jones

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Frontline takes those at war in the First World War and in the medical profession and creates an intensely emotional, knowledgeable book that expertly weaves fact and fiction together to create a tight-knit story, very apt for our times. From the cover to the end of the story, it is intensely poignant in many ways.
Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my review and where you can buy Frontline.
I thank Welbeck Books for gifting me a copy of the book, in exchange for an honest review.

Frontline cover

Blurb

The doctor hits the spot and deserves to be read’

JEFFREY ARCHER

A SWEEPING DRAMA SET ON THE BATTLEFIELDS OF EUROPE AS A GLOBAL INFLUENZA PANDEMIC LOOMS . . .

Frontline is the first book in a series charting the rise of a prominent British medical family in the twentieth century. From wars to a pandemic, the discovery of penicillin to the birth of the NHS, successive generations of the Burnett family are at the vanguard of life-saving developments in medicine.

Frontline is the story of an aristocrat’s daughter who joins the war effort as a nurse. In a field hospital in rural France she meets Will, a dockworker’s son serving as a stretcher-bearer. As rumours of an armistice begin to circulate, so too does a mysterious respiratory illness that soldiers are referring to as the ‘Spanish flu’.

Review

Frontline coverEvie is one of the characters who start off this book, which begins in 1910 and makes a shift to 1914. She has a baby and her story is sure to tug on many heartstrings, even the most hardened of hearts. It’s one of woe but also of courage of those around her.

Readers also follow Grace and other nurses as well as tells of how things were from a soldier, like Will’s story too and how they are linked and it becomes about them and their lives and needs to survive and what was happening in the world at the time, that they had to find ways of living in and doing their duties.

There’s a real rawness to one of the letters written, which gives further insight into what was going on and the fears that were there.

There’s the sense of life, distinct of the times and it feels like a lot of research went into this as well as passion for the subject matters. It may not be an easy read, but its authenticity and realism through fiction really shines through and develops into a great read. It takes readers to the heart of war, including The Somme, but also what it’s like to be home on leave, as Will is when he returns to Grace. There are also some lovely heartwarming moments too, that saves this book from being too bleak and in some instances, shows some humanity in the world too, especially when Christmas arrives.

Frontline is very apt for our times, as we try to survive Covid-19, this book also shows people trying to survive a pandemic too – Spanish Flu and the devastation to life between that and war. I think it could serve as something more thought-provoking about their own behaviours in present times.

The book is an intense but pertinent read. Dr. Hilary Jones has also left an “Author’s Note” at the back of the book that adds a little more about what is dubbed as “The Great War” and is poignant, as are the acknowledgements. I agree that there are some parallels that can be drawn from today between Spanish Flu times and Covid-19 times. It’s hard not to notice, if you know a bit about way back then too and thinking about it, even if you don’t, you’ll be able to find this by reading this book.

Clearly Dr. Hilary Jones is writing from what he knows from his medical background, but he’s intelligently combined this with war, of those fighting in it and of women who are not. There is a rich tapestry that runs through it and there is a sense that it’s a bit of a nod in a way to those who came before him and that sits very well with me, and I think it will with many other readers too.

Buy Links

Amazon                Waterstones

#Bookreview by Lou When The Earth Stood Still by Kate Eastham @eastham_kate @bookouture #HistoricalFiction

When The Earth Stood Still
By Kate Eastham
Rated: 5 stars *****

A tremendous historical fiction book that fits in perfectly for these present times…
When The Earth Stood Still will show human strength, make you cry and a smile a bit too.
Follow onto the blurb and my review below that and find out where and how you can purchase such an emotionally driven book that yet shows glimmers of hope…
Firstly find out more about the author, blurb and then review and follow onto who else is on this tour…
Thanks to Sarah Hardy and the publishers – Bookouture for inviting me on this first day of the blog tour and for the book.

About the author

KATE (1)A change in circumstance meant Kate Eastham made the shift from a career in nursing to being a carer for her partner. Determined to make the most of this new role ‘working from home’ and inspired by an in-depth study of the origins of nursing, she wrote her first novel at the kitchen table. Miss Nightingale’s Nurses was published by Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series. With her passion for history, Kate aims to make visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past. Her current historical fiction is set during the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture.

https://twitter.com/eastham_kate

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Blurb

The nurses were putting in twelve-hour shifts now, day and night. Emily felt broken inside, dried out, not even capable of tears. They were short-staffed after a softly spoken Irish nurse, who’d only been with them for four days, had died from the deadly flu and two more had fallen ill. And more patients were coming in every hour, though the hospital beds were already full…

1918. Twenty-year-old Emily Burdon has been training as a nurse in London, learning on the job as she tends to patients from the crowded poorhouses that ring the hospital as well as wounded soldiers returning from the war. She pours her heart into her nursing while she waits for happier times – peace in Europe and the return of her childhood sweetheart Lewis from the Western Front.

But when the deadly Spanish Flu arrives in London on the heels of the war, Emily’s faith and courage are put to the test. All around her men and women in the prime of their lives are wasting away, and until a cure is found there is nothing for Emily and her colleagues to do except make them comfortable, treat them as best they can… and, eventually, ease the pain of their passing.

But then Lewis catches the deadly flu himself on his way back home, just as a new doctor is transferred to head up Emily’s ward. From the distant land of Prince Edward Island in Canada, Dr James Cantor is the first of a generations-old farming family to have left the island, and wartime London feels a long way away from the rugged beauty of his homeland. But despite their differences, he and Emily find common ground in their passion for helping patients and stopping the spread of the disease. But with life forever changed around her and Lewis’ future hanging by a thread, can Emily survive the most terrible epidemic in the history with her life – and heart – intact?

A heartbreaking historical novel based on true history – emotional and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of Jean Grainger, The Beantown Girls and Diney Costeloe.

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Review

The Spanish Flu was absolutely devastating as is Covid-19 today. It makes me think of what we are living today and how much worse it would be, living in the times of Spanish Flu (no technology and even less medical know-how and equipment). It’s a rather timely historical fiction book, that deals with such a subject matter well and takes it seriously and yet provides a gripping read with character’s lives you can care about, in particular Emily’s life.
It is an emotional read that tells a story relevant of that time and any time of a pandemic. It’s about having passion, perseverance and carrying on, even in the toughest times, even when a loved one is hit by it and you feel almost broken like Emily. It shows how lives change quite dramatically and it’s dealt with in a realistic manner, with a certain strength of character. There is wonderful strength of friendship and comaraderie amongst some of the staff too, that has tremendous care and compassion within it. There is the care of the patients and what is happening to the soldiers as well, who were in service. It’s a well plotted book that has heart and soul within it, even in the toughest of times that the characters are all living through.
This book, although set within historic times, serves well for people living today and shows how people can be in their manner. It also reminds people too of the Spanish Flu pandemic and gives hope too and that people do come through it and it was even tougher then, so it is thought-provoking for today’s generations and I come at this, having lost someone to Covid-19 and working in another keyworking sector.

Buy Link:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/2ZkWWn7

When the World Stood Still - Blog Tour Poster