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17 July 2015

Review: 'No Place for a Lady' by Gill Paul (2015)

All’s fair in love and war …
1854. England is in the grip of a gruesome war.

Lucy Harvington, ill-educated beyond how to be a wife, has travelled to the Crimea with her handsome and impetuous officer husband Charlie.
As the day of battle dawns she can only pray her husband survives. If he doesn’t, what will become of her?

Dorothea Gray, volunteer nurse at the Westminster Hospital, is determined to follow her little sister Lucy to the front and to serve her country alongside her heroine Florence Nightingale and the pioneering nurses already risking their lives.

But neither sister could possibly have known the horrors they are about to witness – the courage, the cowardice, the danger – and the excitement – nor could they have guessed the risks they must take, the passion they will taste, and the simple fact that they may never see one another again…

A few weeks ago I was part of the blog tour for the release of author Gill Paul’s latest historical novel, ‘No Place For a Lady’. I had a special guest post from Gill Paul herself on why she writes historical novels, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already done so by clicking here. The e-book version of the novel was released on the 4th of June and the paperback version on the 2nd of July. As part of the blog tour I also received a review copy of the book and since it didn’t arrive on time for me to include my review with my blog tour post, I have my review of ‘No Place For a Lady’ to share with all of you today. I personally really looked forward to sitting down with the novel because I had heard a lot of positive things about Gill Paul’s writing, but I hadn’t had the chance to check out one of her other books before. I love a great historical novel every now and again, so I hoped both the author and the book would match all the great things I’d read and heard!

‘No Place For a Lady’ is set in England in 1854, the time of the Crimean War, and focuses on two sisters from London, Lucy and Dorothea Gray. Lucy is still young but when she falls head over heels in love with handsome officer Charlie Harvington, she decides to get married straight away and follow her new husband to the war front in the Crimea. Lucy’s older sister Dorothea is against the hasty marriage and tries to warn her sibling about life in a foreign country and on the battlefield, but nothing can stop Lucy. Dorothea tries to focus on her work as a volunteer nurse in Westminster Hospital, but she can’t stop worrying about her younger sister. When the opportunity arises for her to serve her country by working as a nurse at the warfront, Dorothea knows she has to take this opportunity. Not only so she can work alongside her own personal heroine Florence Nightingale, but also to hopefully track down Lucy before it’s too late.

I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up one of Gill Paul’s historical novels, and after having read ‘No Place For a Lady’ I can say with certainty that it definitely won’t take as long before I sit down with one of her other novels; what a wonderful and captivating read this was! The combination of the intriguing time period and place in which the novel is set (both England and the Crimea during the Crimean War around the 1850s) and the author’s engaging and detailed writing style resulted in a read which I really looked forward to picking up and getting lost in. The storyline immediately spoke to me with a focus on two sisters who are separated during the war, and since the story is told from both Lucy’s and Dorothea’s perspective I really felt like I got to know both characters and got the chance to look at the events in this historical period from different points of view.

Lucy and Dorothea are great main characters; really different and each with her own story to share. Lucy is the young and hopeless romantic one, who is willing to leave everything behind, including her family, to go to the warfront with the man she loves. Dorothea is the older, more thoughtful and worrying, sister and also the character I personally liked best. Both women are forced to be strong and find their own way in life, and I really enjoyed being taken on this journey with them. Author Gill Paul really has her own voice; one filled with a lot of detail (I honestly felt like I learned a lot while reading this book) which made it easy to picture everything, but also its own distinctive style. I loved jumping back in time and joining these characters during this fascinating period in the past and can’t wait to pick up another one of Gill Paul’s novels to travel back to another historical event. Overall, ‘No Place For a Lady’ is a wonderfully captivating and intense historical novel; a book that held me in its grips from the very beginning and quite simply couldn’t get enough of!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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