Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An Unwilling Accomplice in WWI

The novel opens with battlefield nurse Bess Crawford summoned to the war department in London. She is ordered to escort a wounded soldier to Buckingham Palace to be decorated by King George.

A day after the ceremony, the soldier, Sgt. Jason Wilkins disappears. Bess is questioned about his disappearance and accused of dereliction of duty in permitting him to go AWOL.

What follows is Bess's efforts along with her friend, Simon Brandon, to search the English countryside and locate the missing soldier and thus, to clear Bess's name.

Through the eyes of Bess, we view the English landscape and observe many of the victims of WWI, both military and civilian.

One of Bess's friends sums up the true cost of the war. "I think the greatest cost of the war is in lost friends...All the young men I've danced with...played tennis with and dallied with, are gone."

In the midst of the story Bess and Simon come upon a town where a wealthy woman is caring for a wounded officer. Thinking that it might turn out to be Sgt. Wilkins, they question the woman. In this case there is a head wound. It isn't Wilkins but we observe another casualty. The soldier has a head wound that causes moments of irrational behavior.

This was an easy read where I could imagine the countryside and what Bess and Simon were going through. I was a bit confused with the conclusion but overall enjoyed the story.

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