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on Jan. 12, 2013 :
“A Burnished Rose” by Christine Keleny is a marvellous historical novel about Rose Krantz, a young woman from Wisconsin who decides to forego a married life in order to join the American effort in World War 2 as a nurse. The book is incredibly well researched and detailed, particularly in the area of army life abroad. Whether it describes the drafting procedures, the journey across the Atlantic or the camp life in the desert, the author clearly has taken her time to get the background completely authentic which allows us to trust her and ease into the story. As a matter of personal taste I found that the amount of description and detail occasionally got in the way of the story but that only shows how eager I was to find out what was happening next in the story.
The plot itself is solidly set up, the various characters are given a lot of time to establish themselves and come alive in our imagination. Rose joins the army in order to see the world – not just out of patriotism - and so she enters her new life with some naïve notion about what lies ahead of her. What she sees in the various theatres of war and how she perceives life in the army then becomes all the more real and shocking to us.
I found it difficult to settle into the story at first as it seemed to begin rather oddly with her return home to Wisconsin to attend to her sick mother. Not having read the previous book in the series I was a little confused as to where the story was going as explanations about the characters and Rose’s past seemed confusing. I am very much an impatient and plot driven reader and was eager to get to the more dramatic parts of this war time story and once Keleny got to it I was more than satisfied with the result. The descriptions of the war in North Africa and Italy were amazing and utterly captivating, the group of soldiers and nurses were well-chosen to illustrate the variety of experiences different people had in these trying circumstances.
As a fellow writer of historical fiction I have to applaud the author for her great skill and particularly for her vast knowledge. It has been a great pleasure to read a book about the ‘European’ War from an American perspective, with such an attention to detail and such thoughtfulness and through the eyes of such a wonderful character. I am looking forward to the next book in the series to find out what our heroine experiences next.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on June 07, 2012 :
I really enjoyed this account of a Rose, a fictional nurse during World War II. The author elicited a myriad of emotions, from humor to sorrow, and she obviously put a lot of time and effort into her research. I would recommend this book for fans of historical fiction as well as women's literature. It'll be interesting to see where the next installment leads.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)