The Liverpool Nightingales (The Nursing Series)

Written by Kate Eastham
Review by Cathy Kemp

Starting her story in 1870 and moving the location to a deprived area of Liverpool, the latest offering from Kate Eastham sees another group of student nurses embark on their training. The core group of intrepid young women comes from different walks of life, and living in the nurses’ home inevitably causes some personality discordance. Maud Linklater had been working as a housemaid for many years and at the age of 22 feared that she would remain there or in a similar position for the rest of her life. However, an unfortunate accident happens to the young chimney sweep boy, Alfie, when he is forced to climb up inside the fireplace, and Maud is delegated by the housekeeper to accompany him to hospital. During the time Alfie spends on the overcrowded ward recuperating, Maud not only observes the activities around her but is drawn to help. The Hospital Superintendent notices Maud’s capabilities and offers her a place alongside the other trainees. Maud makes excellent progress, but when young Alfie is abducted, she is distraught, and with her new friends, they scour the alleyways and backstreets in their search for him. Their search takes them into places that are seedy and certainly not safe for young, single women, who have been mysteriously disappearing from the streets.

Kate Eastham has researched the rudiments of medicine from this era, along with the social limitations to give an accurate representation of the challenges faced within an engaging tale. This is a well written story that is easy to read, and the author successfully creates a number of credible characters that are interesting to the reader, who wants to know more about them and cares about their uncertain futures. This is a recommended addition to the growing sub-genre of historical-nursing fiction.