Review: 'Fetch Nurse Connie' by Jean Fullerton (2015)
London, 1945 and as the end of the war is declared and the troops start returning home, the nurses of the East End are joining in the celebrations.
For Nurse Connie Byrne the end of the war signals the beginning of a new chapter and as the revelries go on around the city, Connie's mind is on another celebration that she'll be able to arrange - the wedding to her sweetheart, Charlie, set to take place as soon as he arrives home. But when Connie meets Charlie off the train at London Bridge, she finds that his homecoming isn't quite going to go according to plan...
Connie's busy professional life, and the larger-than-life patients in the district, offer a welcome distraction, but for how long? If nursing in the East End has taught Connie anything, it's that life is full of surprises...
Jean Fullerton's 'Fetch Nurse Connie' is one of those review copies that somehow has been standing on my to-read shelf for way too long already. Jean contacted me herself several months ago with the question of whether I'd be interested in reading and reviewing this title and I said yes because I can really enjoy a wartime romance novel every now and again. However, I do need to be in the mood for it, because I feel it really is a specific genre and not just a quick and easy read to pick up no matter the mood you're in. Two weeks ago I decided it was finally time to give this novel a go, and after having read it I can only say I regret not picking it up any sooner...!
'Fetch Nurse Connie' is set in the east end of London just at the end of World War II in 1945 and focuses on Connie Byrne, who works as a midwife and district nurse for the St. George and St. Dunstan Nursing Association. Connie loves her job as a nurse and is completely dedicated to her patients and colleagues, especially her good friend Millie. Now that the war is over, Connie can't wait for her fiancee Charlie to come home so they can finally get married. Even though she's busy with work Connie tries her best to have everything ready for Charlie's return: her wedding dress, a house for the two of them to live in, she has even booked the church for the service. But Connie is in for a surprise when she meets Charlie at the train station, and suddenly she is forced to rethink quite a few things in her life.
I've always been intrigued by the TV show 'Call the Midwife' and don't really know why I still haven't started watching it, but I feel 'Fetch Nurse Connie' comes quite close to the series but then in book form, and I have to say I really loved it. The novel focuses on nurse Connie Byrne, who might be a familiar face to readers who have picked up some of author Jean Fullerton's other reads such as 'Call Nurse Millie', which focuses on Connie's best friend Millie. While I'm sure some of the elements in this book might have a different meaning when you know all about Millie, I do feel this read works perfectly fine as a stand-alone, which is also the way I've read it. I immediately warmed to Connie and just loved reading her story which consisted of both her personal life and her work as a nurse, visiting lots of different patients.
One of the strongest features of this novel is undoubtedly Jean Fullerton's writing; I personally loved her writing style, which really had me engrossed in the story and made the read a really comfortable one. I loved learning more about all the different patients Connie visits, but also her colleagues and family and friends, and even though there are quite a number of small character roles in the book, I didn't get confused at any point. I really thoroughly enjoyed this read and definitely plan on picking up some of the author's other books, and perhaps finally start watching 'Call the Midwife' sometime soon...! On the whole, 'Fetch Nurse Connie' is a captivating, very enjoyable and well-written novel I couldn't get enough of, definitely a must-read if you're a fan of the wartime romance genre!