November 2016

‘A Nightingale Christmas Carol’ by Donna Douglas

All that Dora Riley wants is her husband home safe for Christmas…

The Nightingale Hospital, London, 1944: With her husband Nick away fighting, Dora struggles to keep the home fires burning and is put in charge of a ward full of German prisoners of war. Can she find it in her heart to care for her enemies?

Fellow nurse Kitty thinks she might be falling for a German soldier, whilst Dora’s old friend Helen returns from Europe with a dark secret.

Can the women overcome their prejudices and the troubles of their past to do their duty for their country?

This is the 8th book in the increasingly popular Nightingale series by Donna Douglas.

This review is going to be slightly different than my previous reviews in that my Mother (a former nurse) is also going to chip in with her thoughts too.  She has read the entire series and can’t wait to read more.

I must admit that when I first purchased the Nightingale series, I bought them for my Mother as I thought that they would appeal to her.  She is a former nurse who trained in the 1960s & 1970s and I thought reading the series might bring back some memories.  Whilst my Mother was reading the books I kept hearing the odd chuckle, the odd tut and the odd comment about certain things being the same in the 1970s as they were in the 1930s.  It brought back loads of memories for her.  Mam commented that the author is either a former nurse or she has done a heck of a lot of research to attain that level of authenticity & believeability.  She sped read the first seven in the series and was left wanting more.  I actually read ‘The Nurses Of Steeple Street’ by Donna Douglas first but I was hooked on her writing style and I just knew that I was going to love the Nightingale series.  I started the first book in the series and before I knew it I had finished the series.  I noticed that Donna had another book due out (‘A Nightingale Christmas Carol’) and I have eagerly waited for my copy.  I sort of stalked the postman and even threatened to run after him to give him a kiss when it arrived (I didn’t but I haven’t seen the postman since).  I knew that I would have to wrestle with my Mam over who got to read it first (I won).

‘A Nightingale Christmas Carol’ sees the staff of the Nightingale deal with the latter stages of the war.  Helen has been nursing abroad with the military and returns to the Nightingale to help look after wounded service personnel.  Helen is hiding something though and she doesn’t want to tell anybody what it is.  Dora faces a dilemma as she has heard nothing from Nick, who is serving overseas, and she is expected to look after German prisoners of war.  How can she look after those men, who have fought her husband so to speak?   Dora is such a professional and caring person that she puts her own feelings to one side and cares for those who need it.  I don’t really want to say anything further about what happens to the book as I don’t want to spoil it for anybody.  Needless to say, if you read this book you will go through the full range of emotions from joy to heartache, from fear to excitement and so on.

Donna’s writing style is such that you get sucked in and you can’t help but imagine the scenes playing out in your head.  To quote my Mam ‘ You feel as though you are right there with them’.  In fact I am sure that she felt as though she was back on the wards.  I found that I took to most of the characters and Donna wrote about them so convincingly that I started to care for them.  In fact I felt like they were old friends.  Reading ‘A Nightingale Christmas Carol’ was a bit like going to a school reunion or a work reunion and finding yourself amongst old friends.

In short, both I and my Mam absolutely LOVED this book and would definitely recommend it to others.  I award it 5* out of 5* but if I could have I would have awarded it more as it was that good.  The only problem is that there is a bit of a wait until Donna’s next book so I might have to read the series again.



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