A Nightingale Christmas Promise (Nightingales 10)

Written by Donna Douglas
Review by Cathy Kemp

With the threat of war looming in 1914, there is uncertainty across the country and throughout Europe. In east London at the Nightingale Hospital, the latest student nurse recruits are finding out what their new roles will entail, and for some of them it’s a far cry from how they grew up. Sadie is hiding her origins from her new colleagues, but the legacy around her mother’s life choices proves difficult to suppress. Eleanor’s father holds firm in the belief that his daughter should not have contact with Jews or Germans—a difficult task for her when her roommate, Anna, has a German parent and invites her friends round to enjoy some stollen. Kate Carlyle is the first and only female medical student to be allowed within the male-dominated world of medicine, and what a mountain she must ascend to prove her worth.

Once soldier casualties begin to arrive from the front, the entire staff is faced with increasing challenges, and the impact of loss and incarceration is felt by all. With her keen eye for historical accuracy, Douglas’ latest rendering of the trials at the Nightingale leading up to Christmas 1914 is no exception in producing an engaging storyline. We see characters as probationers that we have known as middle-aged adults from her earlier novels. They continue to follow believable storylines, endearing them to the reader. So far, the ability to engage and provide variety has not paled.