Until Then, #5 in the Women of the Heartland series, is a very well-written novel about the fabulously talented nursing team serving our military in WWII and local law enforcement and their families in war-torn London. It is Christian historical fiction at its best and based on real events and people, including the Bethnal Green tragedy in London, and Dorothy Woebbeking, an army nurse who served in North Africa and Europe with the 11th Evacuation Hospital.
Bethnal Green was the scene of the greatest war-related loss of life tragedy in London during World War II. To keep the enemy from knowing how frightened the citizens were and avoid any similar actions, the cause of the deaths of 173 people, mostly women and children, was suppressed. One of the fictional characters in the novel is Rupert Laudner, a police officer who responded to the crisis. Through the eyes of Rupert, his family, and his close friend Vicar Towsley, we see how the German attacks on London effected the citizens as a whole and as individuals.
Army nurses handled a phenomenal number of patients in terrible varieties of warfront injuries. Dorothy and her friends exemplify the best of the best medics and nurses, the men they loved, the families they were a world far away from. Waiting for medical supplies and sitting with soldiers who are near death are among the challenges faced. Knitting socks and other items for soldiers seems like a drop in the bucket of needs, but every pair of socks is a pair of feet at the front rather than the hospital or hospital tent. Their selfless service while hoping for word about brothers, fiancés or boyfriends, or other family members could have added to their feelings of isolation were it not for the close friendships between the women.
The characters are defined with care and necessary depth. It is easy at times to read about wars and the various levels of those involved and being able to close the novel and walk away. The author invites us into the lives of her characters, bringing them to life in such a way as to keep them in the reader’s heart long after the final page is read. One thing I appreciated was seeing how Dorothy, raised in the same faith as I was, used the prayers, scriptures, and important things memorized over the years when sitting with her patients. It was a beautiful way to demonstrate how we can live our faith in even the worst of circumstances. Along with Dorothy and Rupert, I like Hank (Henrietta) and their mascot, Eric.
This novel is a must-read for those who appreciate Christian novels about WWII, the nurses who served the military, or Christian women’s fiction. It is realistic in the aspect that the characters face not only the losses of those about them, but their own personal losses. For those who believe in God, they grieve yet go forward, making plans for their futures. I highly recommend Until Then, and plan to read the earlier novels in the series.
From a thankful heart: I won a copy of this ebook from the author; a review was not required.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)