Honoring those who have served their country in war, most focus on those who have fought on the battlefields. But one group's heroics under fire have slipped through the pages of history, a group whose blood and sweat were left in operating rooms and hospital tents, a group whose heroism has seldom been measured.
For nurse Gwen Spencer, fighting battles is nothing new. An orphan sent to live with a vengeful aunt, Gwen picked coal and scrubbed floors to earn a living. But when she decides to become a nurse, she steps outside the boundaries of her aunt's demands...and into a world of her own making.
Leaving her hometown for France, she helps doctors mend thousands of brutally injured Doughboys under primitive conditions. Amid the chaos, she volunteers to go ever forward to the front lines. Braving bombings and the madness of men crazed by the hell of war, she is stunned to discover one man she can love. A man she can share her life with.
But in the insanity and bloodshed she learns the measures of her own desires. Dare she attempt to become a woman of accomplishment? Or has looking into the face of war and death given her the courage to live her life to the fullest?
Page Count: 358
Word Count: 90405
After a blissful minute of silence, Gwen faced Pearl. "So you really are thinking of volunteering?"
Pearl stared over the rims of her glasses. "I am. Want to come? It's a set of uniforms, an overcoat, two pairs of boots, a trip to France, and all the work you can get until the war ends and all the men in the entire world are dead. Oh, and especially for you, Spencer, a raincoat. The one you never afforded for yourself because you gave half your pay to that ungrateful aunt of yours."
"A raincoat. Golly," Gwen mused half-seriously. "A worthy reason to join. Plus, if I go with you, I could listen to you complain all the time."
Markham threw a pillow at her.
"I might look into this, just to learn what it's got to offer," Gwen teased her, but inside a seed of interest grew roots.
"Ask Dalton. She knows more."
"She's going. O'Bryan persuaded her."
"Doc is going to France?" Gwen couldn't believe it. O'Bryan didn't seem like the adventurous type, nor the noble type, either. She misjudged him. Why would he volunteer?
"For a million soldiers," Anna chimed in. "You need thousands of doctors and nurses. Dentists, too."
"Of course," Gwen murmured. How many people do you need to care for millions of men? How many scalpels and needles? How much ether and debridement solution? How many sterilizers and...just how do you get all that where it's needed to save lives of men in pain and bleeding? "I want to learn more."
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