The Fire by Night is a novel about two American nurses during WWII. They were friends before the war, but are stationed in very different places. Jo McMahon is stationed in France and has lost her hospital convoy. Now all that stands between her patients and death is Jo herself trying to keep her patients alive as the Germans grow ever near her. In the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp in Manila. As conditions deteriorate, Kay thinks back to the moments of bliss she shared with her secret husband, a handsome airman that she meet in Hawaii before Pearl Harbor.
I thought both storylines were very interesting. I was particularly interested in Kay’s storyline. I had never heard of the siege of the Malinta Tunnel on Corregidor Island in the Philippines. I found it fascinating and very scary. Messineo wrote the scenes masterly for this part of the novel with the appropriate amount of tenseness. I liked the characters and enjoyed how they represented the two theatres of the war in a very realistic fashion. War as a nurse is not all romance.
Speaking of romance, that was the downfall of the novel to me. I didn’t really feel the romance that either of the women had. While the situations they were in were bleak and very sad when you are reading the novel, the romance was a bit jarring and I also though the interlude of how they became friends over their shared sexual assault experience in New York City to be strange. I did like how the novel addressed what happened after the war and how the women were able to move on in life.
Overall, The Fire by Night is an intriguing look at life as a Battlefield nurse in WWII.
Book Source: E-book Review Copy from William Morrow. Thank-you!