Wives of War is a simple book that can be finished in a couple of days and although a dash predictable, is a good light summer read.
We follow three points of view in this novel, that of Scarlet, Ellie and Lucy. Scarlet is an upper class girl with good breeding, engaged to Thomas but unwittingly in love with his brother James. Ellie is an Irish lass living in UK with a poor but hardworking family. She is the life and soul of the party who doesn’t handle the war front and its stark reality and harshness well at times. And Lucy is a strong, almost heroic character, a hard worker whose background is not clearly defined, but she is independent and wants to be a doctor in a time that females in the profession were scarce.
We follow the beginning friendship of Scarlet and Ellie as they meet on the train to go to their first deployment and we meet Lucy as a separate character already on the war field hospital. Each woman has her own reasons for being a nurse, but they find support, acceptance and even a kind of love between the three of them as the fury of the war takes over. Each woman has her own clearly defined relationship trials, falling in love with the brother of a fiancé, a doctor and an American soldier. True love doesn’t always run smoothly, and the love triangle between Scarlet and the two brothers was a tad boring because it took so much time, but all’s fair in love and war as they say.
Themes of commitment, love and domestic violence, unplanned pregnancy in a time when it was frowned upon and what true love will and won’t accept and many others are explored in this story. At times this book was too predictable, and yet at times it gives a sanitised glimpse into the very real conditions men and women found themselves in at the war front. The characters are drawn well enough to warrant interest in their storylines, but lack a certain believability, deficient in truthfulness to their characteristics and very real differences in how they were raised in an era that class still mattered.
This is a romance novel set in World War Two but leans more heavily on the romance than the historical fiction side of the equation, although care was taken to try and get some of the historical information correct. If you’re not looking for complexity in your storylines then this book might be just up your alley, making it a perfect summer poolside read.