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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas
The Nightingale Girls is all about three girls with very different personalities, who have signed up to be trainee nurses at one of the best teaching hospitals in London in the 1930's.

Dora comes from a poor background and she is passionate and determined to become a nurse. Dora has always dreamed about being a nurse and it is a career choice that can help her...
Published on 23 Aug. 2012 by Nikki Bywater

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Nightingale Girls
The first in a series of books (and the first historical novel for Donna Douglas who you may know for her contemporary romances written under the name of Donna Hay), this is a novel about the lives, the loves, the friendships of three young women who sign up as trainee nurses at St Agatha's hospital in the London of the mid 1930's.

Though much of the novel is...
Published on 7 Sept. 2012 by Tracy Terry


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Nightingale Girls, 7 Sept. 2012
The first in a series of books (and the first historical novel for Donna Douglas who you may know for her contemporary romances written under the name of Donna Hay), this is a novel about the lives, the loves, the friendships of three young women who sign up as trainee nurses at St Agatha's hospital in the London of the mid 1930's.

Though much of the novel is set within the St Agatha's, the author does a wonderful job of capturing the drudgery, the hardship, the humour of hospital life at this time, The Nightingale Girls is so, so much more.

Touching and very warm, a great coming-of-age story. This is a novel with a beautifully mixed myriad of captivating characters, the 'secondary' ones just as well written as the three main, and though, if at times, I felt that I'd met some of them before, this really didn't matter as I quickly took them to heart, relishing their very different stories.

Beautifully descriptive. Whether it be capturing life on the various wards, the stifling, overcrowded, poverty of Dora's working class East End background or the equally stifling, privileged backgrounds of both Helen and Millie, Donna Douglas paints an amazingly vivid picture.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas, 23 Aug. 2012
The Nightingale Girls is all about three girls with very different personalities, who have signed up to be trainee nurses at one of the best teaching hospitals in London in the 1930's.

Dora comes from a poor background and she is passionate and determined to become a nurse. Dora has always dreamed about being a nurse and it is a career choice that can help her escape from her humble beginnings and save her from her abusive Stepfather.
But with money for new text books to be found, will Dora be able to keep up with her fellow students if she falls behind in her studies due to a lack of books?

Helen's mother is a hospital trustee and her brother is a doctor. Helen does not have many friends and she tends to keep herself to herself. But deep down Helen is deeply unhappy; her controlling mother controls all aspects of her life. So when Helen gets the chance to live her own life and break free from her overbearing mother, will she be able to make a stand?

Millie or to give her, her full title Lady Amelia is a carefree girl from an aristocrat family. Millie is a bit of a rebel often arriving back at the hospital late after a night out and avoiding the more senior staff. Millie is already repeating her preliminary training after failing the first time round, she now needs to work hard. Can she become more organised and prove she as what it takes to become a nurse?

This is the first in a series of novels following the lives and loves of three trainee nurses in the 1930's. It is a really wonderful read that I found really touching at times. I really liked all the characters they are really likable. The story does not just concentrate on the characters time in the hospital but on their personal lives too. I really want to find out what is going to happen to the characters in the next book, so it is a book that leaves the reader wanting more and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 4 Sept. 2012
By 
Marie G (Wigan, England) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed this book. The characters pull you in from the beginning and the 1930s hospital setting is fascinating. My personal favourite sections include the vivid portrayal of the world of student nurses at that time; any part involving Nick; and the character of Miss Hanley - developed with touching sensitivity. The book brings to life the world of the student nurses with all its emotion, drama, adventure and humour. A great read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very easy read......, 24 July 2014
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This review is from: The Nightingale Girls: (Nightingales 1) (Kindle Edition)
I was looking for an easy summer read and was persuaded by the overwhelmingly good reviews of the series but was disappointed and struggled to finish it. The series puports to follow the lives of three young women of different backgrounds training as nurses in the 1930s but the presentation is superfical in the extreme; there is no analysis of their decisions or actions so we are asked to accept without question that Millie ( of the aristocratic background) has chosen to rebel against her background , that Dora 'has always wanted to be a nurse' and that Helen is 'standoffish'. Their subsequent behaviour conforms to stereotypes .
Equally I did not recognise the descriptions of hospital life as valid although I understand it was thoroughly researched. The nurses portrayed in the novel certainly seemed to have an easier life than I did in my nurse training in the 1960s when one ward sister would check the shelves in the sluice in white gloves to make sure they had been dusted correctly! In itself, however, this should not necessarily detract from the novel which is, after all, a work of fiction not fact. In this case it just seemed boring.
I became less and not more engaged with the plot throughout the book and by the end I simply did not care what happened to the characters. I will not be reading any more of the series
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 25 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: The Nightingale Girls: (Nightingales 1) (Kindle Edition)
Really enjoyed this book, well written and kept me interested all the way through. There is scope for a second book as the girls go through their training and become qualified nurses so hopefully more to come.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 13 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The Nightingale Girls: (Nightingales 1) (Kindle Edition)
What an thoroughly enjoyable book - highly recommended!
Loved the characters and their stories.
Didn't want it to end! Cant wait for the next book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nursing in pre-war London, 7 Sept. 2012
Thoroughly authentic and realistic The Nightingale Girls takes you back in time to the 1930s, when Matrons paraded the hospital wards giving orders to their staff and white caps were compulsory. One follows the lives of three very different young girls who all sign up as trainee nurses in 1934 at London's Nightingale training hospital, where they learn what it takes to be a nurse including having the knowledge and passion for it. The amount of detailed research that has gone into creating this novel is evident, as Donna Douglas is meticulous with every little detail to make the story believable and come alive before your very eyes. Absorbing and beautifully written one sees the world through the eyes of three very contrasting characters, who each has their own dreams and aspirations for the future.

There is Dora who comes from a poor, working-class background and yet strives to make something of herself and better her situation in life. She is ridiculed for her circumstances and yet is more determined than anyone else to do the very best she can, whilst having to cope with a stepfather who is reluctant to let her go. Out of the three Dora was the one character that I was able to relate to and empathize with most, as she proves that even for someone who doesn't have things easy that if there is a will then there is a way; hence her determination to succeed pulls her through. Helen is the character who has everything easy with siblings and parents already in the nursing profession; her career path is already laid out before her. Her domineering mother is a trustee of the hospital and her brother is a doctor, but it is Helen's heart that does not coincide with her chosen path. Through Helen we see how it is not just having the skills and knowledge required for a profession or having those contacts that can help one get up the ladder within the social hierarchy, but it is also about having the passion and love for what you are doing that makes it a worthwhile and enjoyable feat. Finally there is Millie who is the rebellious, disobedient trainee, whose carefree attitude gets her into the worst kind of trouble setting a bad example to her colleagues. Her lack of inclination towards nursing makes many wonder why she is actually there, and if she is meant to be back in the glamorous lifestyle that she was born into. Her character is most fascinating as one is able to evaluate the importance of material things in life and money, versus true happiness and fulfillment.

It was a delight to be able to not only learn more about nursing in this period and how it differs from today, but to see what it was like through the eyes of very different individuals who all had their own trials and tribulations to overcome and address. It makes you re-evaluate your own situation in life in regards to your career, and understand the importance of having that enthusiasm, passion and interest for what you do. Life is not always easy as there are many obstacles that we can be faced with both on a career level, a relationship basis and also on a personal level that impacts on the choices that we make and ultimately how we live our lives. Having both a parent and sibling within this profession I was naturally intrigued and fascinated by the medical content and references within Donna Douglas' novel, that was both illuminating and historically accurate. I think that many people who work in today's medical occupation will find this a most enjoyable read that is as much entertaining as it is thought-provoking. One could see the rows of metal beds, smell the mixture of medication, antiseptics and disinfectant and picture the matron strutting around the wards followed by a group of junior doctors in white coats and nurses with their white caps and fob watches. This story was truly captivating and kept my interest from beginning to end, with such intense drama that will leave you breathless whilst sitting in suspense.

I would like to thank the author Donna Douglas for hosting a giveaway of her book on DizzyC's little book blog, which I feel most privileged to have read. I confidently predict that The Nightingale Girls will be amongst this autumns bestsellers, as it is a book that will appeal to many readers both young and old therefore I cannot wait to read more of the authors work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 23 May 2014
By 
C. Rucroft "The little bookworm" (North Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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I picked this up recently and, to be honest, wasn't expecting a lot from it. I'm a massive fan of call the midwife so when I read a review saying that it was like the programme, I was keen to give it a go.

I'm so glad I did! We follow the story of three trainee nurses in their first year - Milly who should really have been getting married to continue the family line, Helen who's mum doesn't think anyone will ever be good enough for her and Dora who is hiding a terrible secret about her family life. All the girls have very different backgrounds but they become firm friends.

The book is very easy to pick up and I was racing through it. There were some funny moments and some sadder ones but the author has got the mix just right. It just seems so realistic. The book was a mix of call the midwife and the royal (if anyone remembers that brilliant programme!)

I am now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the rest of the series. I'm sad I waited so long to discover this gem!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 12 July 2014
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Leigh - See all my reviews
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There was something about this book appealed to me. It might've been the cover, the setting, the era it's set in, I don't know, but the appeal was so strong I bought it and the others in the series before I had ever read a page. This is a new author and for me most authors take some getting used to and so when I began reading I expected it to take a few pages to get into the story. Instead I was gripped from the first page, always wanting to know what would happen next. So much was happening, so many characters and storylines to follow and very easy to keep track of them all. From the main characters, Dora from the poor slums of the East End with a terrible and terrifying secret she dares not tell anyone. Helen with the controlling mother and surrounded by suspicious and sniping fellow nurses, and a brother who has a secret of his own. Millie the poor little rich girl who longs for freedom from the life her grandmother has planned out for her. From the girls we then meet their families, their neighbours and of course their fellow students and nurses at the hospital and the Matron. Every character is well written and developed and you learn to care about them and cheer them on. You want to see them succeed in their nursing studies, to find happiness in their personal lives, to find peace within their family upheavals. It was difficult to put down, and only a nasty headache that kept me from finishing it sooner. I am glad I bought all the books in the series and now I want to start the second book because I cannot wait to see what happens to all these amazing characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas, 6 Jan. 2014
The Nightingale is an imaginary great teaching hospital.

The Nightingale Girls are three student nurses in the 1930's.
Not for a moment while reading Donna Douglas's absorbing novel did I suspend belief in the historical background and details.

The Nightingale Girls is a page turner. I really cared about the three main characters. Young probationers from very different backgrounds united in their ambition to become nurses. Dora, a working class girl from an under-privileged background is at risk of failing her exam because she is too poor to buy textbooks. Helen, oppressed daughter of her mother, who is on the Board of Governors at Nightingale Hospital. Helen is frightened of her mother who controls every detail of her life and demands a daily letter. Millie, who has been presented at court and wants more out of life than making a suitable marriage.

As well as Dora, Helen and Millie, the cast of characters, Matron, the nursing staff, porters, doctors and the girl's admirers and their families are skilfully brought to life.

At the end of the novel the villain gets his `come uppance' and two of the girls find happiness.

I look forward to reading more novels by Donna Douglas.
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