The Nightingale Christmas Show

Written by Donna Douglas
Review by Cathy Kemp

The first Christmas after the end of the Second World War sees the staff at the Nightingale Hospital trying to resume their usual customs to ease the lives of their patients during their enforced stay. Matron Kathleen Fox has tasked her assistant, Charlotte Davis, to bring cheer to their present difficulties by creating a Christmas Show, with the staff performing various acts. Unfortunately, Davis is carrying some trauma from her experiences towards the end of the war, and her abilities to sustain relationships with others are questionable. Alongside the scars borne by others, including a newly admitted patient recently released from a concentration camp who is suffering from malnutrition and acute insomnia, Charlotte struggles to make headway with the planned performance.

Douglas has a keen eye for historical accuracy, and her latest rendering of the trials at the Nightingale leading up to Christmas 1945 is no exception in producing an engaging storyline. The characters continue to feel real and their challenges understandable for this period in time, endearing them to the reader. As with her previous offerings, there is sufficient scope to continue the series.