Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Daughters Of Mars by Thomas Keneally

If you are looking for a light breezy summer beach read this is probably NOT the book for you. However, if you enjoy well-researched historical fiction with characters you will like and admire then I highly recommend The Daughters Of Mars. The Australian writer, Thomas Keneally best known for his Booker Prize winning novel, Schindler's List, has written yet another beautiful, poignant and simply unforgettable story.

This is a book about two Australian sisters, both trained nurses, who enlist in support of the Australian war effort during the early days of World War I. Naomi and Sally Durance are both eager to leave rural New South Wales following their mother's prolonged, painful death from cancer and set out on an extraordinary four year journey- from Cairo to Gallipoli and on the Western Front of Europe-where they are propelled onto a course of self-discovery unlike anything they could have ever imagined for themselves.

Whereas most war stories are told from the perspective of the soldiers experience, Keneally opts to tell this one through the lens of the noncombatants- the doctors, the nurses, and the orderlies- who waited behind the front lines ready to treat and comfort the wounded, the dying and the horribly maimed soldiers of The Great War. The new heavy weaponry, poisonous gases and rampant disease, including a pandemic flu in 1918, created widespread carnage that simply overwhelmed the best known and available medical treatments of that time. The writing is descriptive, vivid, masterful and clearly well-researched. This book is a real page turner- it's suspenseful, emotional and utterly inspiring. 

1 comment:

Becky said...

This sounds like the perfect beach read for me! :-)