I almost didn’t read Frontline Angel by Genevieve Jordayne.
I’ve been living with a Civil War nurse for more than a year — she’s the main character of my upcoming novel.
But in the end, I couldn’t resist. And I couldn’t resist from the moment I opened the first pages where she’s trying to figure out how to tell her parents she has enlisted.
I think Eliza and my main character Maureen would be good friends. They share the same determined spirit. They’re brave and true. They’re even both farm girls of Irish heritage.
Frontline Angel tells a harrowing story of young women who have volunteered to work at a Philippine hospital in the days before and after Pearl Harbor is bombed. Eliza is lucky to have such good friends — and a handsome man to love. By the end of the book, I was tearing up at the idea of saying goodbye to the lot of them.
Ms. Jordayne has quite a story to tell. Her main character is tough, God love her. She’s going to make it no matter what. The question is, how? And there are plenty of other questions that needed answers so I kept turning pages.
I know the history of the Bataan Death March — but I had no idea about the nurses behind enemy lines and in POW camps. The author plumbed the depths of this young woman’s character rather than focus on the violence around her. I’m glad she spared the reader. With the focus on the nurses, their patients and a few other people, it is an intimate history of unforgettable characters.
As a journalist, I had one little quibble. There are reporters hungry for a story and curious for news. They got swatted pretty good. “It became evident to Eliza after several misquotes and entirely fabricated stories that the press didn’t really want the true story,” she writes in one section. Humans make mistakes but I find this statement a little hard to take in a novel. The many journalists I know don’t like misquotes and really do want to know the story. I almost stopped reading. But I forgave this offending statement and finished the novel.
I read it on Kindle Unlimited but it’s on regular Kindle and in paperback too.