Daughters of War (Leonora Trilogy)
Leonora Malham Brown is a fashionable young woman living with her grandmother in upscale London. She is bored, as probably many in her circle are. Serendipity strikes, and Leo literally runs into Victoria Langford: sassy, independent, and driving her own car. Leo and Victoria forge a fast friendship punctuated by flights of fancy by Victoria about joining the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) or the Women’s Sick and Wounded Convoy, both women’s organizations hell-bent on going to the front to nurse wounded Bulgarian soldiers. Naturally, the men in their lives believe that this is a crazy idea and totally improper for well-bred young women.
No matter. Believing firmly in the righteousness of their goal, Leo and Victoria run away from London, seeking passage to the Bulgarian front so they can join up with the nurses. They get there, although the road isn’t easy and the nursing even more difficult. Yet, Leo pushes on while the aggressive, smart-alecky Victoria ultimately caves. It is in this plot twist that we come to understand and appreciate the depth of Leo’s convictions about life, about war, about love.
There is much here to talk about, not the least of which is the historical impact of these nurses, most of whom came from well-bred backgrounds, the push-back by society of what these women were attempting to achieve, and the realistic rendering by Green of the atrocious conditions they encountered. Green’s characters are intensely real, idiosyncratic, fascinating, but not just Leo and Victoria. As the first installment of an anticipated trilogy focusing on Leo, this novel gives the reader a fine appreciation of the depth of character that a talented writer is capable of imparting to an otherwise one-dimensional creation. Well done and highly recommended.