Monday 30 September 2013

Band of Angels

Finished September 28
Band of Angels by Julia Gregson

This novel begins in Wales in the mid-1850s where Catherine Carreg was allowed to grow up freely, running around with the young son of the local drover Deio, riding horses and spending lots of time outdoors. But now she is growing up and her parents are restricting her to more ladylike activities, something she finds hard to adjust to. When a medical tragedy hits her family and Catherine is the only one on hand, she realizes how helpless she is and determines to overcome this lack of knowledge.
With the help of young Deio, Catherine makes it to London and gets accepted into training with Florence Nightingale. When the opportunity arises to volunteer to nurse in the Crimea, Catherine is eager to test her skills and help in any way she can.
Deio, a master at training horses, is also drawn to the Crimea, but has no idea of the reality of the conditions there and is in over his head.
Both young people can not forget each other despite their drives to prove themselves in the world, and they reconnect under horrific conditions.
Gregson did a lot of research for this book despite little historical material being available. The conditions of the hospitals and the lack of acceptance of the nurses is shown graphically. Gregson gives us a glimpse of the politics behind this first nursing endeavour, and disease, malnutrition, and lack of resources that were the reality.

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