The Fire by Night

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I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this book. I loved this very poignant story of two nurses during their service in WWII. They’re two very different woman with two very different paths during the war. The author, Teresa Messineo, researched and interviewed until she had enough factual pieces to weave into this compelling story.

the fire by night

The two women meet during their time at a hospital in NYC when they experience some trauma that’s a little too common during these times. The women embody what nurses are all about: service, self-sacrifice, and commitment to the job no matter the cost. This holds true when the nurses are at home, in Pearl Harbor, or held captive by the Japanese in POW camps.

There are a lot of “no freaking way” moments throughout the book. I won’t spoil them for you, but I will add that Messineo interviewed nurses from WWII and used these interviews to add to her story. The only anecdote I will share is at the end of one nurse’s service, the officer conducting her interview forces her to sign a contract stating that she will not speak a word of her experience during the war to anyone – not family, friends, spouse – no one. I immediately thought of all the stories I hear of family members who never spoke about their service during the war. My great uncle, for example, was taken as a POW during WWII. Uncle Jimmy never spoke a word about his time overseas to anyone. He took those stories to the grave. I wonder if he signed any such contract of silence?

I’d encourage you to read this if only so that you could experience a different side to the war. It’s good for us to relive history in order that we don’t repeat it. I feel this now more than ever with all of the neo-Nazi movements we’re hearing about on the news.

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