The Lieutenant's Whistle is the second of Fred Stemme's historical novels. Set in the World War I years before America joined in the fray, it follows the lives of Henry "Hoop" Braddock and Kyla Laurens. Braddock is a young man from Indiana and he, like many Americans, has joined the voluntary ambulance service to assist France in her hour of need. They risk their lives to transport the wounded from the front lines to hospitals like those at Verdun. In the beginning chapters he is on his way to his assignment when he meets Kyla, a beautiful Scottish lass who will be working as a nurse at one of the hospitals in Verdun. It is love at first sight for Braddock. Kyla is attracted to this personable "Yank," but is recovering from recent heartbreak. The two will survive bombardment and personal injury....but will their love survive the emotional turmoil and the ravages of war?
Fred Stemme writes in a very straightforward manner. He tells this very interesting and compelling story with few words, but the details and the descriptions are extremely vivid and give the reader a real feel for what life as medical support personnel--whether an ambulance driver or a nurse--in the Great War was like. The central characters from "Hoop" and Kyla to the other drivers in Hoop's group to Connie, Kyla's nursing friend, are all very likeable and it is easy to become involved in their stories. The reader will not only be rooting for the drivers as they move through the dangerous terrain to rescue lives, but for the romance between Kyla and Hoop to end happily ever after.
This is one of my favorite time periods and Stemme does it full justice. A very enjoyable read. Three and a half stars.
[Disclaimer: This book was sent to me as a review copy by the author. My review policy is posted on my blog, but just to reiterate...This review copy was offered to me for impartial review and I have received no payment of any kind. All comments are entirely my own honest opinion.]
Sounds like an interesting book. I don't think many people these days realize how brutal WWI was.
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