The year is 1936. A time of great change. The old order is definitely taking a hit making way for new. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world of women. More women are going into the workforce, the influence of the aristocracy is waning, more women becoming heads of households, having to cope with questions they never faced before and young women are beginning to realize is that they do not actually have to follow the rules laid down by their elders.
Into this heady atmosphere comes three girls. Three different backgrounds, three different personalities, thrown into close proximity having to live together for three years under difficult and unpleasant physical conditions. Discipline is tight, rules aplenty and like young women all over the world, love always finds a way.
The setting is the Nightingale Hospital - well known as turning out the best nurses in the land. The Sisters who run it are very strict - some seem to have forgotten their own youth but fortunately for the young ones there are many who haven't.
Helen is Constance Tremayne's daughter. A terror if a Trustee on the Hospital Board she rules not just Helen's life with a rod of iron but anyone whom she comes into contact with. Rosie is our a East End girl. Poor but determined to get out of her home, facing an abusive stepfather she is hopeful that her qualifying as a nurse will help not just her but her sisters whom she is justifiably fearful for. We have Millie - Lady Amelia actually who is running away from arranged marriages and just wants to make her own decisions about her future.
These three girls, along with a host of others form the characters of the story of Nursing in England, the lives and loves of young women and the characterization of the times. Told in detail it was an excellent read.
Thanks to Random House UK - North America who sent this book to me via Netgalley.