Set in the mid 19th century, this is the story of Eleanor Sherbrook whose beauty is marred by a red birthmark that covers half her face. She does not expect men to see her as marriage material. The balls in London have taught her that much. But she is no shrinking vine. When her sister Julia steals the man she loves, Lieutenant Joshua Wentworth, Eleanor decides to serve with Miss Nightingale as a nurse for the wounded soldiers fighting Russia in the Crimean War. She travels to the British Army hospital in Scutari, Turkey where conditions are less than ideal. Coincidentally, this is near where Joshua is serving in the Light Brigade.
In the war, Eleanor and Joshua are thrown together, and often find solace in each other’s company. Joshua is wounded, losing an eye and, ironically, ends up with half his face scarred. Eleanor will nurse him to health. Meanwhile, her sister Julia begins a relationship with another man in London and seemingly cares nothing for what her fiancé is facing in the horrible war.
I should say at the outset the writing is excellent with many exciting scenes. Even though I knew where the story was going and could see the outcome, I kept reading. Eleanor’s trials as a battlefield nurse were intriguing and Joshua is a fitting hero who is Eleanor’s perfect match. Both are courageous. The historical events are well recorded. There’s lots of blood, guts and gore and much medical description that make the story realistic. The only thing that bothered me was Joshua’s continual reference to himself in his thinking as “Wentworth” as though he was speaking of another person but this was not a great matter.
For those who love deep historicals, this is a worthy story.