A tale of bravery and grief during the Spanish Flu pandemic
Today, we are thrilled to be the stop on the Blog Tour for When the World Stood Still by Kate Eastham.
When The World Stood Still tells the story of a nurse working in a London hospital military ward throughout the Spanish Flu pandemic.
Title: When the World Stood Still by Kate Eastham
Publisher: Bookouture (February 22, 2021)
Print Lenght: 232 pages
All through the war, the nurses of St Marylebone Infirmary have stood strong, but they’re about to be tested as never before when a deadly flu sweeps the country…
1918, London. Twenty-year-old Emily Burdon has been training as a nurse at St Marylebone Infirmary, learning on the job as she tends to patients from the crowded poorhouses that ring the hospital as well as wounded soldiers returning from the war. She pours her heart into her nursing while she waits for happier times – peace in Europe and the return of her childhood sweetheart Lewis from the Western Front.
But when the deadly Spanish Flu arrives in London on the heels of the war, Emily’s faith and courage are put to the test. All around her men and women in the prime of their lives are wasting away, and until a cure is found there is nothing for Emily and her colleagues to do except make them comfortable, treat them as best they can… and, eventually, ease the pain of their passing.
But then Lewis catches the deadly flu himself on his way back home, just as a new doctor is transferred to head up Emily’s ward. From the distant land of Prince Edward Island in Canada, Dr James Cantor is the first of a generations-old farming family to have left the island, and wartime London feels a long way away from the rugged beauty of his homeland. But despite their differences, he and Emily find common ground in their passion for helping patients and stopping the spread of the disease. But with life forever changed around her and Lewis’ future hanging by a thread, can Emily survive the most terrible epidemic in the history with her life – and heart – intact?
A heartbreaking historical novel based on true history – emotional and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of Jean Grainger, The Beantown Girls and Diney Costeloe.
From the Publisher’s Blurb
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During WWI, Emily and her friend Lucy left the country to become nurses in London.
As the war was coming to a close and the wards were finally emptying of injured soldiers, a severe flu pandemic hit, bringing devastating consequences.
As people died around her and other nurses fell ill, Emily’s courage to keep attending to the patients was very inspiring.
Several scenes in the book resemble our current COVID situation, from the helplessness of the population to the risks taken by the first-responders and hospital workers.
The story is heart-wrenching with plenty of death and grief, but it is also inspiring as it brings hope for a better future even after such a catastrophic pandemic.
There is a love triangle of sorts in the background that helps to soften the narrative’s seriousness a little. There is also a much needed happy ending.
When the World Stood Still is an emotional tale about strength, perseverance, and kindness in times of trouble.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
Kate Eastham trained as a nurse in the late 1970s and enjoyed a long career before a change in circumstance meant that she needed to be a full time carer for her partner. Determined to make the most of this new role ‘working from home’ she cleared a space at the kitchen table for a pile of books and a writing pad and started to make notes on the history of nursing. Inspired by the achievements of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole during the Crimean War she was also captured by the sheer grit and determination of other ‘ordinary women’ whose voices from the past are seldom heard. An idea for a novel was born and her first book, ‘Miss Nightingale’s Nurses’, was published by Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series.
Having thought that she would never find anything to replace the work in nursing that she loved, she is now equally immersed in her writing, drawing on years of experience and the stories told by so many patients. With her passion for history, Kate aims to continue making visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past.
Her current fiction is set during the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture.