An American nurse from Philadelphia named Ella Neumann works in a French hospital camp during World War I. Her cantankerous supervisor, Sr. Nora refuses to promote Ella because she speaks German, and the good sister is wrestling with her hatred of the enemy and the war in general. But Ella trained in surgery at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, and her skills are being wasted by cleaning up after the POWs. Ella’s dream is to finish her medical degree and become a physician, but the war drags on.
Fortunately, Ella is sidetracked by a mysterious man who is in disguise. Gerhard Schmidt is a German officer in the POW ward, and Ella stops him from escaping. But will she recognize him when he returns to the French hospital of Le Tréport as Canadian ambulance driver, Gary Brown?
As the story evolves, romance blossoms between Gary and Ella. But when they are both sent on dangerous espionage missions to the border near Belgium, will they make it back alive? Caution: there is a scene of torture in the German POW camp. Recommended for ages 13 and up. This is a good book for future doctors and nurses interested in history, with accurate descriptions of life during WWI, and techniques used in surgery and nursing. There is also a scene of childbirth, but it is not gory or excessive. It is a beautiful, pro-life moment in the otherwise very dangerous war.
Ella’s Promise is the third book in the Great War – Great Love series, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. I look forward to reading the others and basking in the glow of well-researched historical fiction replete with Catholic references and war poetry.