A Nightingale Christmas Carol by Donna Douglas

In brief: The eighth in the Nightingales series, this is the story of the end of World War II as the Nightingales must adjust to looking after German POWs.

The good: Reading this series is like coming home – warm and inviting.

The not-so-good: I have to wait for the next book (Goodreads says late 2017).

Why I chose it: Always enjoy this series.

Year: 2016

Pages: 375

Publisher: Arrow (Penguin Random House)

Setting: London’s East End

Rating: 9 out of 10

Donna Douglas’ Nightingales series is always a perfect comfort read. It’s easy to get into the story, revisit old characters and meet new ones and be carried away. The nurses of the Nightingale Hospital in London’s East End have been through a lot in the series with the arrival of World War II. They’ve been bombed, relocated to the country and now they are back again as the hospital opens up more wards with the arrival of German POWs to look after. The well POWs are also helping to rebuild the hospital.

As always, the story focuses on recurring characters and brings in a few new ones. The feisty Dora is back again as staff nurse for the POW ward. Even though husband Nick is fighting on the opposite side, Dora’s kind and compassionate nature has her trying to have the POWs recognised as humans worthy of standard medical treatment and a little Christmas cheer. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. Helen, who left to work on front lines is back as sister of Dora’s ward and one for the English soldiers. Something happened to Helen that means she cares very little for the POWs and actively thwarts Dora’s attempts to make the ward a little more homely. Dora knows this isn’t the Helen she knows, but will Helen’s new friend Clare ever let Helen talk for herself?

Kitty is one of the younger nurses who was injured in a previous book. She’s more conscious of how she looks to others but her new romance just doesn’t seem right. But nursing Stefan and talking with him…she feels so comfortable. But isn’t he meant to be the enemy? Her brother certainly thinks so and is watching Kitty and Dora to make sure things don’t get too friendly…

This is the final book dealing with World War II, but I have a feeling there will be much more to do at the Nightingale Hospital as Britain adjusts to post-war life. I was quite pleased to see that there’s a new story coming up according to Goodreads! Donna Douglas always does sound research for the time period and her characters become like friends. They’re flawed (hello Helen and Dora) yet determined to do their best for their patients. I do enjoy the mix of medicine, friendships, romance and historical that the series delivers so well. If you’re after a comfy read for the beach or by the fire, you can’t go wrong with the Nightingales!

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