Friday, December 16, 2016
The Fire By Night
When we think of war survivors you might think of the Holocaust victims or even our war veterans from every war you could imagine, but often we overlook the women who served as nurses during any of the wars, especially WWII. In the debut novel by Teresa Messineo, she highlights the lives of two very important nurses who gave up everything to serve their country in one of the longest wars in history. Spending seven years in research, she wanted the lives of her fictional characters to be believable but also to transport the reader right into the heart of where she placed them. I personally feel, she has done that and more.
For Jo McMahon, she would find herself left behind as the surplus trucks pulled out of France taking the supplies, the nurses and most of the wounded men with them as she was instructed to wait behind with six patients for the trucks to return. She would need to do whatever it took to ensure that her patients survived and she managed to accomplish that and more, even when she learned that everyone who evacuated that night all died in a bombing run. No one remained alive. She has been instructed by the captain that she will need to do whatever she can until they can rescued even if it means going without food while their supplies continue to dwindle to nothing. Her only hope is believing that one day the war might end and she might get a chance to leave this muddy, unsanitary hell hole she now calls home and that she will do anything it takes to ensure that all of her sic patients survived against the odds against them.
Kay Elliot, was a fellow nurse to Jo and the two worked together until the war separated them. Now a POW living in an internment camp known as Santo Tomas where she doesn't know if she will live another day under the scrutiny of the Japanese soldiers. Little by little she does what she can for the women, children and injured men who occupy the tunnel like existence while dreaming of a time when she found and lost love in Pearl Harbor. She often gave Jo a hard time because of her idyllic paradise setting and how wonderful her life was going. Until December 7th, when everything was suddenly ripped apart and forever changed. She now witnesses the greatest atrocities to mankind as she watches her captors starve them day by day while disease and sanitary conditions claim even more lives. Now Kay wonders if she will ever see her friend Jo again and just who got the better of the two jobs as nurses in the war.
I received The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. I am so glad I read this novel and really pushed to get a copy of it. It was perhaps for me, the most realistic novel of what life was life for the American nurses who found themselves serving along the front lines during WWII. You never really considered how difficult life was for them, not only by their fellow male service men, but being killed, injured or taken as a POW during WWII. I found myself relating to the life of Jo McMahon the most and often wondered while reading this, if I too, would have enlisted as a nurse during the war to help where it was most needed. To hold the hand of a dying man knowing somewhere back home, he was a son, a husband, or a brother of someone who would never get the chance to say goodbye to them. While the novel does contain profanity along the lines of the context of the war, it isn't enough to distract you from the novel's purpose and that is to take you into the heart of what war was like for nurses during the war, and for that I give this a 5 out of 5 stars.
For more information about The Fire By Night, Teresa Messineo, or where you can preorder a copy of this novel today which is due out in January of 2017, please click on the links below:
You can find Teresa Messineo on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on The Fire By Night, please visit William Morrow's website.