I’ve read all of Lynette Rees’s saga series to date but for me, Red Poppies, is the best by far!
Set during the First World War, the reader meets Adele Owen, a young nurse from Merthyr Tydfil; she has one lofty ambition, to train as a doctor in what is undisputedly, a man’s world.
She heads off to a London teaching hospital where women are welcomed as students except by the male students, who for the most part appear to be obnoxious middle class oafs, who cannot stand seeing a woman doing better than them.
Adele needs rescuing from a tricky situation and when that person comes along, she somehow realises he will always be in her life.
I don’t want to give too much of the plot away here, but needless to say Adele impresses the powers that be and ends up serving at a casualty clearing station in Ypres, Belgium, where she has to make life and death decisions. Later she serves at a military hospital in France where innovative methods are used for dealing with men who have suffered from shell shock.
The character of Adele, shows great fortitude and courage under bombardment from artillery fire in the distance, and she not only has to contend with men who are physically injured and dying but also the psychological wounds they endure.
On returning to London, Adele’s biggest dilemma is being torn between two loves. One is a fatherly figure who has taken care of her for the longest time, the other, the surgeon she worked with on the Western Front.
This is a gripping drama that I found hard to put down. There are many shocks and surprises inside this book. At one point I actually shook my head in disbelief but as the story unfolded, it all made complete sense and the signs were there all along.
If you’d like a compelling read about WW1 where it’s evident the author has really carried out extensive research, without the book sounding like a history encyclopedia, then this is the book for you!
It would be hard to remain unmoved by this phenomenal read.
J. Gowerton – Loves Books