Book Review – The Nightingale Girls


The Nightingale Girls: (Nightingales 1)
Author: Donna Douglas
514 pages
Publication: Random House UK – North America, August 2012
Historical Fiction
Minor Adult Language, Sexual abuse


Description from Amazon:

Three very different girls sign up as student nurses in 1936, while England is still mourning the death of George V. Dora is a tough East Ender, driven by ambition, but also desperate to escape her squalid, overcrowded home and her abusive stepfather. Helen is the quiet one, a mystery to her fellow nurses, avoiding fun, gossip and the limelight. In fact she is in the formidable shadow of her overbearing mother, who dominates every aspect of her life. Can a nursing career free Helen at last? The third of our heroines is naughty, rebellious Millie an aristocrat on the run from her conventional upper class life. She is doomed to clash over and over again with terrifying Sister Hyde and to get into scrape after scrape especially where men are concerned.

This utterly delightful novel brings a London pre-war hospital vividly to life.

My thoughts:

First released in Great Britain, I loved reading the words, spellings, and
colloquialisms that differ from our American English.

The characters were believable and affable. My favorite character was Helen
because she was the quiet, serious one.

There was some romantic element to the story but I didn’t think it was
overpowering. It definitely was more a story about three young women
studying to become nurses.

I would have liked to have read a little bit more about the history at that
time. Also would have liked to have read more about the setting which
primarily takes place in London. But that would have made the book, which
was already long (514 pages), even longer.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about Great
Britain and the nursing field. I look forward to reading more about these
surmountable women in the next book in the series, The Nightingale Sisters.

I was given this book by Random House UK – North America through NetGalley in exchange for my honest and fair review.

About the Author:

Donna Douglas

From the author’s website: I’ve always loved telling stories. Even before I could hold a pen, I would sit on top of the coal bunker in our south London back yard, making up tales in my head. My greatest joy was when my grandmother bought me an exercise book, which I could fill with stories (a shiny new notebook still gives me a thrill now – oh, the endless possibilities of those empty pages!)…I read voraciously, too…When I was 40, I published my first novel, Waiting in the Wings, under the name of Donna Hay. The novel won the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Award.

You can learn more about Donna on her webpages:

Goodreads / Website / Facebook


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