Date: 5th May 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
It's 1948 and the nurses of the East End of London are making the most of life post-war. For Connie in particular, things are looking rosy as she looks forward to planning a future with her sweetheart, Malcolm. But, as many a young bride-to-be has proved, the course of true love never did run smooth and Connie finds herself having to grapple with interfering mothers and Malcolm's reluctance to set the date.
But while there are many obstacles to overcome before walking down the aisle, at least Connie can relax in the knowledge that she'll soon be married to the man of her dreams, can't she?
Life at work isn't all smooth sailing either. The newly-formed NHS is keeping the nurses of Fry House extremely busy and as ever in the life of a nurse heartbreak lurks at every turn. But there are some new faces to keep things interesting. And one in particular might be the answer to all of Connie's problems...
I was introduced to this book by Sam over at Sam Still Reading with her review of Wedding Bells for Nurse Connie. I placed it on my 'would like to read' list of books and finally I reached it. I have always been a little partial to medical fiction/romance, with a long history of Sue Barton when growing up and then everything I could lay my hands on written by Lucilla Andrews, including her memoir which receives a mention at the end of the book. Although that was just one book that she used for research, there were many, and it shows. The book rings with authenticity of the time period just after WW11 when England was changing over to a National Health Service.
Connie is a capable, compassionate nurse and she carries out her role in varying circumstances, always thinking of her patients and going the extra mile for them. Often it is not easy in the face of challenges that old, uncaring traditionalists bring to their roles. Take a doctor and a priest to showcase the worst of their species. I loved how Connie helped her patients and in some cases changed things up for them. Her boyfriend Malcolm was a bit of dead wood, and his mother was something else!
Coming to rescue the practice from an unscrupulous doctor, Dr. Hari MacLaughlan - part Indian, part Scottish, comes into the picture, sets the nurses a-twittering and while horrified at what he finds in his new place of work and living quarters, sets about bringing some decent medicine to the area. He works with Connie's nurses at Fry House, and its not long before Hari is noting that Malcolm doesn't seem to appreciate Connie all that much, even though there is a wedding date set. Dr. Hari meets a fair bit of discrimination which would have been typical of that time, very overt. However he handles it really well, he is an old hand and there is not too much you can throw at him as he has been a Japanese war prisoner.
I enjoyed the book, I felt like I was right in the middle of a drama TV series - the details were rich and gave a very full picture of the life and times of the various characters in the district and in Connie's family and nursing area.