Lecia Cornwall delivered an engaging World War I historical fiction with a side of romance as a determined female doctor finds herself at a medic camp in France. Danger, romance and the struggles of female doctors made for a captivating historical fiction fans will want to read.
by Lecia Cornwall
Genres: Historical Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
A daring young woman risks everything to pursue a career as a doctor on the front lines in France during World War I, and learns the true meaning of hope, love, and resilience in the darkest of times.
When Eleanor Atherton graduates from medical school near the top of her class in 1917, she dreams of going overseas to help the wounded, but her ambition is thwarted at every turn. Eleanor's parents insist she must give up medicine, marry a respectable man, and assume her proper place. While women might serve as ambulance drivers or nurses at the front, they cannot be physicians—that work is too dangerous and frightening.
Nevertheless, Eleanor is determined to make more of a contribution than sitting at home knitting for the troops. When an unexpected twist of fate sends Eleanor to the battlefields of France as the private doctor of a British peer, she seizes the opportunity for what it is—the chance to finally prove herself.
But there's a war on, and a casualty clearing station close to the front lines is an unforgiving place. Facing skeptical commanders who question her skills, scores of wounded men needing care, underhanded efforts by her family to bring her back home, and a blossoming romance, Eleanor must decide if she's brave enough to break the rules, face her darkest fears, and take the chance to win the career—and the love—she's always wanted.
I love historical fiction surrounding WWII but rarely stumble upon those set during WWI, so I was delighted to download The Woman at the Front. We meet Eleanor Atherton, the daughter of a local doctor and a recent medical school graduate. Eleanor is the daughter of the local doctor and, despite excelling at medical school, her father and the village, won’t accept a female doctor. With a war raging, it seems the government doesn’t want her aid either. Frustrated, Eleanor accepts an offer to travel to the front lines to doctor a titled son and return him home. The tale that unfolds shares the horrors of the front line medic teams and the war alongside a story of women’s efforts and Eleanor’s courage. Wrapped within the story is a simple and beautiful romance that will pull readers in.
The story took a bit to settle in as the author shared the family story, and Eleanor’s determination to make a difference. Once we arrived in France, I found myself complete caught up in the story. Eleanor finds her patient disagreeable, the head nurse a stickler for rules and the commanding doctor in charge outraged at her presence. Yet, Eleanor holds her ground and slowly becomes a central part of the happens when they find themselves understaffed.
Eleanor meets Sergeant Fraser MacLeod, a stretcher bearer at the train station where he is returning from escorting a wounded soldier. He aids her in getting to the base camp and the two become friends. There is a spark there and we see the flame flicker as a doctor and peer show interest in her as well. I found that the romance offered some light to the story as the author brought the struggles, injuries, and difficulties these men and women faced as they tried to save the wounded. I was rooting for the underdog in the romance department and Cornwell kept me guessing as things looked dire indeed.
While the war and injuries played a large role in the tale, it was the characters that made this story shine from the gruff head nurse to the privileged and titled airman. The author brought them all to life in vivid 3-D from their own fears to the growth we see and the impact Eleanor had on them all. The romance was swoon worthy and gave me something to root for.
Women’s equality, war, family, love and loss were all relevant topics, and I found myself completely immersed in the tale. While war can never truly offer a happy ending, I ended up closing the book with a smile. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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This sounds absolutely wonderful and I love seeing a woman’s experience during wartime. I definitely need to pick this one up!
ooh I had no idea this author had delved into historical fiction. That is so neat. so happy that you were so immersed by this one here.
Mareli @ Elza Reads
This sounds lovely yes. Same as you, I love WWI but never seem to get books I really like around that time period. Most of them tend to be very heavy. This one seems right up my alley. Will take a look at it.
Lovely review Kimberly!
I usually stay away from historical fiction. but I would definitely read this one. Your review intrigued me an I m curious especially in relation to Eleanor.