Review: The Woman at the Front by Lecia Cornwall

A WWI battlefield nurse romance? Yes please! I saw this cover and was instantly like YES WWI nurse romances are where it’s at for me! But as I dove into this one it was about a female doctor not a nurse which added a feel of newness for me to a tried and true genre. Lecia Cornwall has written a number of other romances so I was eager to see how much of a romance this book would be.

I would say it contained a fair bit of romance but that wasn’t necessarily the focus—the focus was more about the main character, Eleanor’s, journey from fresh new doctor to battle tested doctor. It was an interesting journey and one that I rather enjoyed as I breezed through this one in a matter of one sitting! It was such a wonderful read and I simply had to know what happened next.

WWI romances are totally my jam and I loved how this one unfolded. If you haven’t read anything by Cornwall, I would certainly start here and move on to her other romances which is what I plan on doing next! This was on top of my most anticipated for fall this year so I am so thrilled that I was able to be an early reader for this one because it was just such a wonderful read!

Summary

A daring young woman risks everything to pursue a career as a doctor on the front lines in France during World War I, and learns the true meaning of hope, love, and resilience in the darkest of times.

When Eleanor Atherton graduates from medical school near the top of her class in 1917, she dreams of going overseas to help the wounded, but her ambition is thwarted at every turn. Eleanor’s parents insist she must give up medicine, marry a respectable man, and assume her proper place. While women might serve as ambulance drivers or nurses at the front, they cannot be physicians—that work is too dangerous and frightening.

Nevertheless, Eleanor is determined to make more of a contribution than sitting at home knitting for the troops. When an unexpected twist of fate sends Eleanor to the battlefields of France as the private doctor of a British peer, she seizes the opportunity for what it is—the chance to finally prove herself.

But there’s a war on, and a casualty clearing station close to the front lines is an unforgiving place. Facing skeptical commanders who question her skills, scores of wounded men needing care, underhanded efforts by her family to bring her back home, and a blossoming romance, Eleanor must decide if she’s brave enough to break the rules, face her darkest fears, and take the chance to win the career—and the love—she’s always wanted. (summary from Goodreads)

Review

This one fell firmly in the historical fiction category for me rather than romance. It certainly has a romantic element to it but as I said, the focus really was on Eleanor. I studied battlefield nurses (Civil War) for my masters degree so books like this instantly grab my interest. I thought the author did a wonderful job recreating the chaos and stress of the battlefield and while Eleanor was a doctor and not a nurse, it was evident that even as a doctor Eleanor encountered many of the same issues that nurses might have at that time. Having Eleanor be a doctor was an interesting angle for readers. There were things I never considered that would be impactful such as sitting for medical exams. I loved how the author brought this kind of little detail into the larger story it was really well done and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The romance was fitting too. Although personally I would have left out the love triangle as it felt forced to me. I don’t mind a good love triangle but this one just for unnecessary for the larger story and like it was trying to be something that it wasn’t. In the long run it didn’t really impact my decision in rating but as I was reading I found myself less interested in the other guy and more interested in the main guy. It was a strong enough story and romance without the triangle. There was plenty of drama and interest there without that.

Eleanor was a wonderful heroine. She was ambitious, strong, and tenacious. I loved her and often found myself admiring her fortitude and strength. Some times the ‘I’m a doctor’ bit got a little excessive but in the grand scheme of things, she was a fighter and eager to prove herself to others. She was more than capable as a physician and I loved watching her character grow through the story and the war. I think that she will be a character that readers will instantly love and admire. I know I sure did!

If you are a historical fiction fan you absolutely need to read this one. It’s so incredibly good and even if you aren’t a huge historical fiction fan, this one is entertaining, quick moving, and engaging. Readers will be sure to love this one. It met every single expectation I had for it!

Book Info and Rating

Format 464 pages, ebook

Published September 28, 2021 by Berkley

ISBN9780593197936 (ISBN10: 0593197933)

Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: historical fiction

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