Finished July 14
Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James
This novel is set just after World War I, in 1919. Kitty Weekes has just lost her factory job in London. In her desperation she applies for a job at a remote hospital for mental patients, and she is accepted. She spends the last of her money getting there.
What had she expected, she isn't sure, but it isn't what she has found. The hospital is desperately understaffed, and despite her lack of real credentials, she muddles through her duties as a nurse. The men who are patients here are a mix from kind to cruel, from lost to angry. But one thing they all have in common is the nightmares. They don't talk about them, but they all know that there is more here than mental issues. Kitty's lack of knowledge and rebellious nature lead her to break the rules, but also complete the horrific tasks that she is given. When she learns of a secret patient, Patient Sixteen, she finds that she must discover the reason for the lack of information on him.
Given her past experience, Kitty is pretty good at reading people, and she finds that many of the men here turn out to be people that she cares about. She also finds that despite her lack of training, she's not that useless as a nurse as she thinks.
This is a story of ghosts intent on finishing what they started, and of men vulnerable to the influence of such spirits. This is a story of cruelty and madness, but also a story of hope and renewal.
I like the spunkiness of Kitty. She isn't about to give in and do what others want her to unless that is what she wants herself.