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It's been awhile since I listened to the last book in this series and I had forgotten how much I enjoy them. The narrator does a lovely job and it is such a pleasure to listen to a book when narrator and storyline are strong and compatible. I now need to start at the beginning and listen to them all again...
Can't get enough of the Nightingale series. Great narration too as always by Penelope Freeman.
This story had plenty of potential. The Nightingale opens a POW ward that Helen, Dora and a few new characters must run. This should have meant complex emotions where duty warred with personal dislike of the task and slowly the characters got to know their patients/prisoners and came to see the humanity in those fighting on the other side. But no. There was no complex character development. One minute the characters would be pining after their loved ones (to the point Dora couldn’t even listen to the wireless for fears of Nick) and then the next moment they would self-righteously judge everyone around them for failing to see & treat the prisoners like any other patient without even acknowledging the difficulty of the situation or they would neglect their duties entirely (with hints of a rather predictable past trauma). Throughout the whole story, there was no layering. Characters were either black as black or white as white for each scene- never the shades of grey that were needed to give the story depth.
And so many of the harsher realities of war were glossed over- often to ridiculous degrees. For example, when the prisoners first arrived, Dora had to give one of the younger POWs (perhaps 16 years old) an injection. The scene was written like he was 3, both in the lead up and the aftermath- him cowering away from the needle, etc. and then total acceptance of Dora when it didn’t hurt. And there is a big scene when the oh so knowledgeable German trained surgeon (another POW acting as ward translator) questions the fresh out of training English doctor over a patient that he thinks needs an operation to ever walk again but it’s okay because nurse Kitty gets him back on his feet (with barely a limp) through hard work and determination over the injustice of it all.
There were scenes I enjoyed in this book, but mostly I saw missed opportunities and lazy character development. I should give it 2 starts, but I've given worse books 3...
The narration was fine.