The Nightingale Sisters by Donna Douglas was published this week by Arrow Books at Random House and is the second in the series. The first, The Nightingale Girls was released in Autumn 2012 - you can read my review of it here.
The Nightingale Sisters takes up the story of the three student nurses that readers met in the first book; Dora, Millie and Helen, although Helen does not seem to feature quite so much in this one. Also featuring heavily is the new night sister Violet Tanner - a woman with a secret past that she does everything she can to hide.
Set once again at the Florence Nightingale Teaching Hospital in the east end of London, the three girls are now in their second year of training. Dora comes from a tough east end family and times are hard at home. When her step father up and left the family, only Dora was relieved, but she can't tell anyone why. As her mother and siblings struggle to cope at home, Dora struggles to cope with her own personal heartbreaks.
Millie is the daughter of a wealthy family and engaged to Seb. She also has feelings for Helen's doctor brother William and feels torn between them. Her inner struggles begin to impact on her work at the Hospital and she begins to question all that she had believed in.
Once again, Donna Douglas has written a warm and engaging story with characters that are so easy to care for. There are some really serious themes running throughout the novel, from domestic violence to the effects of poverty, and the harsh realities of working class life are portrayed excellently. Each character has their own story, and each story interweave to create a compelling, compassionate, sometimes funny and often heart-breaking read. It is clear that once again Donna Douglas has meticulously researched her subject, creating an authentic account of life on the wards of a large teaching hospital.
A completely satisfying read, I enjoyed it even more than the first book. There is plenty of scope to continue the series and I'm looking forward to the next one already.
My thanks go to the author for sending a copy for review.
Donna Douglas lives in York with her husband and daughter. Besides writing novels, she is also a very well respected freelance journalist under her real name, Donna Hay. For more information on Donna, please visit her blog here, or follow her on Twitter here.