Band of Angels – Julia Gregson

Catherine, A young woman who lives on a farm in Wales has had a prized childhood.  Being able to roam free racing ponies with her best friend and neighbour Deio, who is a cattle drover (cattle driver).

All of this changes when her parents forbid her to hang around Deio, citing it is some sort of impropriety.  She longs to leave and make her own mark on the world as she chooses.

When her mother dies in childbirth, the urge to leave is even moreso, she runs away disguised as a drover with Deio’s help on one of his trips to London.

When she arrives in London, a unfamiliar city, so large and busy, she lands a position in Florence Nightingale’s home for sick governesses.

As the country is gripping with the Crimean War, Catherine is determined to go and learn the skills to become a doctor or nurse.

Her life changes in an instant.  She is thrown into a living, breathing nightmare beyond all comprehension.

She has to grow up faster than she has ever imagined.  She not only learns about love, but the cruelty of war, as well as how far it will take you.

I loved the novel, I started it and finished it in about 24 hours time.

I have one difficulty with the book.  With my background in Nursing and knowing all about Florence Nightingale, what she did during this war, what she has done for nurses, I had a slight disagreement with how she was portrayed as an administrator, and not a hands on Nurse that revolutionized  the care of patients then and now.

Knowing this, I guess let me down a bit.  I realize that Julia had some editorial discretion in how she was portrayed, but then again it is Women’s Fiction.

Julia is a favorite author of mine, and I have read another of her books – East of the Sun last year.  I am looking forward to more of her future novels.

Simon and Schuster – Touchstone

Read an Excerpt – Chapter 1 and Chapter 2

Reading Group Guide

Julia’s Website




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