With the centenary of World War I it is inevitable that there will be a slew of books set in the period. Poppy is our heroine; clever enough to go to college but poor enough not to afford to, she is a parlour maid at a big house in Hertfordshire. When war breaks out she has the opportunity to join the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD), and ends up in a hospital in Southampton.
Reading through this book you pick out so much that could be discussion point; the role of women, class, jingoism, changes in medicine. It is a boon to teachers and reading groups, and I worried that packed with so many issues the storyline could become clunky. I forgot that it was by Mary Hooper. What we have is a very readable story with characters that you care about and some that you really don’t like. The plot moves along with a central love story to leaven the gritty hospital scenes.
The story ends with Poppy asking to be sent to Flanders, where I suspect a few of the other characters will turn up as well. We have only reached Christmas 1915 so I am expecting much more from our brave and beautiful heroine.