A change in circumstance meant
Kate Eastham made the shift from a career in nursing to be a carer for her
partner. Determined to make the most of
this new role “working from home” and inspired by an in-depth study of the
origins of nursing, she wrote her first novel at the kitchen table. Miss Nightingale’s Nurses was published by
Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series. With her passion for history, Kate aims to
make visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past. Her current historical fiction is set during
the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture. You can follow Kate Eastham on Twitter (
The Sea Nurses by Kate Eastham has Iris and Evie joining the war effort in England by becoming nurses on hospital ships. The two women come from diverse backgrounds, but they share a love of nursing. They work together on the HMHS Britannic which was requisitioned and outfitted as a hospital ship. With a red cross on the ship, it is supposed to have safe passage in the ocean. It is no guarantee that an enemy U-boat will not decide to fire upon them. These women will be put to the ultimate test.
I thought The Sea Nurses was well-written with realistic, developed characters. I like Iris and Evie who are both gifted nurses. I am glad that the author gave us a unique book on World War I. We get to follow women who have become nurses on a floating hospital. They bring back wounded from the front. The HMHS Britannic was a beautiful ocean liner until war broke out in Europe. We learn how a hospital functions on a ship. I found it fascinating. I could tell the author did her research for this book. We also get to see what life was like on the luxury liners before the war. Thanks to the authors vivid descriptions, I could picture myself standing on the deck as the RMS Olympic sailed into New York harbor with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. In contrast, Evie worked fileting herring on the docks. I cannot imagine the long days spent getting the fish ready for market (plus the smell). Injuries were common as they had to work quickly. There are some heartbreaking scenes in The Sea Nurses (have your tissues nearby). I enjoyed reading this engaging historical novel. The Sea Nurses is a story about war, friendships, love, loss, and coming together to work toward a common goal. It is an emotional, dramatic story that will linger with you long after you finish it. The Sea Nurses is a memorable tale with luxury liners, fileting fish, lost loved ones, suffering soldiers, incessant war, and hazardous waters.
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