Iris Crane's tranquil life is shattered when a letter summons memories from her bittersweet past: her first love, her best friend, and the tragedy that changed everything.
Iris Crane's tranquil life is shattered when a letter summons memories from her bittersweet past: her first love, her best friend, and the tragedy that changed everything. Iris, a young Australian nurse, travels to France during World War I to bring home her fifteen-year-old brother, who ran away to enlist. But in Paris she meets the charismatic Dr. Frances Ivens, who convinces Iris to help establish a field hospital in the old abbey at Royaumont, staffed entirely by women--a decision that will change her life. Seamlessly interwoven is the story of Grace, Iris's granddaughter in 1970s Australia. Together their narratives paint a portrait of the changing role of women in medicine and the powerful legacy of love.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-07-08
- Reviewer: Staff
The well-crafted new novel from Australian author MacColl, her first to be published in America, traces an elderly woman’s reflections, avoiding the trappings of sentimentality while easily slipping through time. Iris Crane is comfortable in her Australian life when an invitation for a commemoration catapults her back 60 years to WWI and her stint as a nurse in a Parisian abbey. Iris remembers the past she has kept hidden from Grace, her obstetrician granddaughter whom she raised. Iris’s career as an attendant began in childhood when she began caring for her younger brother, Tom, after the untimely death of their mother, and it’s why she followed his trail after he enlisted as a young man. In 1978, Grace tends to her patients yet ignores potential evidence pointing to a health risk in her young son, Henry, while worrying about Iris’s health. The ceremony in France serves as a catalyst for Grace to learn more about her grandmother’s mysterious past and her own heritage. MacColl’s novel will appeal to a wide audience including those who enjoy historical fiction and medical drama. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Sept.)