February 2014 Indie Next List
“This story of a young woman's tour of duty as a WWII Army nurse is remarkable. Headed for a career in science, Juliet veers toward nursing in an effort to find her brother who is missing in action in Italy. Hope, love in many variations, stories of soldiers, doctors, nurses and support staff, the wounded and dying, civilians and officers -- it's all as messy as war and also splendid, heroic, and prosaic. Readers will be drawn in by the characters and deeply moved by the telling of their stories. Books as special as this make my job as a bookseller a joy!”
— Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA
1943: When seventeen-year-old Juliet Dufresne receives a cryptic letter from her enlisted older brother pleading for help, and then finds out he's been reported missing overseas, she lies about her age and volunteers as an army nurse to find him. Juliet is thrust into the bloody chaos of a field hospital, where she is increasingly consumed by the plight of her patients. One in particular, Christopher Barnaby, a deserter awaiting court martial, may hold the answer to her brother's fate - but the trauma of war has left him unable to speak. Juliet works with psychiatrist Henry Willard to heal Barnaby before the authorities take him away. Juliet and Willard are forced to plumb the moral nuances of a so-called just war, and to face the dangers of their own deepening connection.
About the Author
Jennifer Vanderbes is the author of the novels Easter Island and Strangers at the Feast, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a New York Public Library Cullman Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Granta and has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in New York City with her daughter.