Cover Image: Nurse Kitty's Secret War

Nurse Kitty's Secret War

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There are many historical sagas of nursing set around wartime but NURSE KITTY'S SECRET WAR is one with a slight difference. Beginning on VE Day when news of Germany's surrender to Britain marking the end of WW2 regaled the nation, another war was simmering below the surface. Whilst Churchill lead Britain to victory there were those who felt that the nation now needed a change as the Labour party proposed the introduction of the National Health Service, offering free health care for everyone.

Coming from a deprived working class background, Kitty Longthorne became a nurse during WW2 working at Manchester's Park Hospital. As the nation is celebrating the end of the war, Kitty continues to nurse the deluge of American soldiers on her ward - some of whom are badly injured - coming up against Sister Iris' indignation and Matron's staunch rules. Not content to sit by and watch Sister spew constant hate at kindly German-born nurse Lily, Kitty defends her friend and finds herself coming under Matron's wrath for her trouble. But Sister Iris is the least of her worries.

Having formed an attraction for up and coming plastic surgeon Dr James Williams, Kitty's heart is broken when she sees her friend Violet flirting with him on more than one occasion and James reciprocating. Devastated, Kitty thought she and James had a future as they enjoyed each other's company and made tentative plans together. But now Violet, who was more than aware of Kitty's feelings for James, flaunts their new-found relationship which is soon followed by an engagement ring. Now the woman who had been one of her closest friends makes snide comments and jeers at Kitty's working class background.

And then there is Kitty's family. For many years it had just been Kitty and her mother, since her twin brother Ned went off to fight and her father landed himself in prison. But now her father is back and is wheedling his way back into her mother's affections, planting his feet firmly under the table once again. Kitty's father was nothing but a criminal and she knew her mother would do well to be rid of him, as she had seemingly come to life in the three years he'd been locked up. Now she is reduced to a self conscious skivvy, there to serve her father's every whim. And when news of her brother having been missing in action is now a Japanese prisoner of war arrives by telegram, Kitty must then console her distraught mother.

Between her family life, her unrequited love for James and Violet shoving their engagement in her face at every chance she gets, Kitty throws herself into her work at Park Hospital. As the military patients are slowly repatriated making way for other patients, her work is never complete as there is always someone who needs her care. When a barely conscious woman is brought into casualty as she arrives for work one day, despite it not being her ward Kitty assesses the patient as critical and, taking her straight up the theatre, seeks out James to confirm her suspicions. Although he may no longer care for her, Kitty knows James is a professional and the top of his game. After surgery the woman arrives on her ward and Kitty takes over her care, getting to know Dora and her situation. For some reason, her story seems to touch both Kitty and James, it it's people like Dora who cannot afford a doctor who the NHS would benefit most. And that is why James campaigns for a Labour government and the critically needed National Health Service, much to the chagrin of the other doctors in the hospital who thrive under private practice.

When Labour win by a landslide, it's only a matter of time before the NHS is set in place. But then they receive word that they will be the nation's first NHS hospital, setting in motion preparations that will see Park Hospital go down in history. Kitty knows how much this means to James whereas Violet frowns in disdain at the thought of the lower class receiving the same care for which they used to have to pay for.

For all of Kitty's struggles, she continued to persevere regardless...a prime example of the generation's stoicness in the face of war. But inside her heart was breaking, never more so than when she arrived at the church to witness the love of her life marry another. Was it truly too late for her and James?

Kitty was a wonderful character who was the epitome of nursing - caring, selfless, compassionate - and yet she had a determination and feistiness about her that was to be her strength through hardships. She loved her job and she was good at it. Incredibly loyal to her family - her downtrodden mother, criminal father and reprobate brother - she persevered nonetheless. Her relationships with Lily, James and Matron were all recounted well. I don't want to say much more and give anything away.

I enjoyed NURSE KITTY'S SECRET WAR - which seemed to be everything in between - and the introduction of the NHS which changed the face of healthcare in the UK. I look forward to seeing what comes next for Kitty.

Recommended to fans of historical sagas, wartime fiction such as Nency Revell, Nadine Dorries and Pam Howes.

I would like to thank #MaggieCampbell, #NetGalley and #Trapeze and #OrionPublishingGroup for an ARC of #NurseKittysSecretWar in exchange for an honest review.
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The story of nurse Kitty, and about the first nhs hospital during WW2. I love this era for books and this didn’t disappoint, my first book from this author snd will definitely be reading more.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this book. My in-laws live in Manchester and both worked at local hospitals. It was interesting seeing place names I knew and could picture parts of the city.  The storyline at times was a little far fetched although it did not stop me enjoying the book.  I enjoy historical books as they allow the reader to learn as they read and in this case about the development of the NHS and the use of drugs like penicillin.  In some ways I wish the series had started earlier during the war as think it would have been interesting knowing about the bombing and effects on Manchester as a city.  I look forward to the series continuing and hope the main characters continue to find some happiness after some testing times.
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Nurse Kitty’s Secret War. 
First let me say that I love most of these stories set in and around wartime. In this instance the war is just ending and the people are trying to  cope with the harsh realities of life in post war Britain. We meet our heroine Kitty Longthorne who is training to be a nurse, but is also trying to look out for her family. Her father is a local criminal and her brother is in a POW  camp in Japan. So it’s just Kitty and her Mam trying to make the best out of life. Kitty is training at Manchester Park hospital which, as it turns out is the first NHS hospital established  in England. Yes it has romance like any good book does but there’s a lot more to Kitty than that. She has a lot of barriers to brake through. I loved this book and I’m delighted to discover that it’s the first in a series so I  look forward to the next instalment with great anticipation. Thanks to #NetGalley for this copy. #NurseKittysSecretWar #MaggieCampbell #historicalfiction
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Nurse Kitty’s Secret War by Maggie Campbell is an excellent post-WWII era historical fiction novel. This book focuses on nurse Kitty Longthorne and her professional and personal experiences in a post-war England, as well as working at the first hospital to become a part of the NHS. 

I truly loved this book and am so excited to hear it is the first of a new series! 

 The story takes place just as the war is ending in the spring of 1945 in Manchester, England on VE day and continues on through 1948. It was fascinating to take a peak within the hustle Nd bustle of Park Hospital and the state of the medical field in the 1940s in England. As a female Practitioner, I loved getting the insight on how the flow occurs, how the staff hierarchy presented itself, and the rules and responsibilities were created and established. I obviously did not agree with the women being treated mostly as second class citizens from many of the men (but not all), however it was interesting to see nevertheless. 

I loved learning more about the landscape of the healthcare system present at that time and how it would be changing for the better. 

I also loved Kitty. She is an excellent nurse and woman. She is smart, humble, fiesty, compassionate, selfless, flawed, realistic, and loyal young woman. The exuberance she displays for her job and her patients was wonderful. She was loyal to her family to a fault. I felt so bad for her and all she was saddled with in regards to her Mom, Dad, and Ned. She persevered nevertheless. I liked her relationship with the Matron and Lily Schwartz. She would be a great character to expand on...

I loved the relationship with James. It had its ups and downs, but they are both too perfect for one another and compliment each other perfectly. I am so, so glad they got the ending they truly deserved.

I loved everything about this book and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

5/5 stars 

Thank you NetGalley and Trapeze/Orion Publishing Group for this arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR, Bookbub, Instagram, and Amazon accounts immediately. This book was published 7/5/20.
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I love to read books of this genre as I find them interesting and this did not disappoint.
Follow Kitty, who works in a Trafford General the first  NHS hospital. This is based around VE Day and  her career, her patients and her family life.

Many thanks to #NetGalley for the advance copy in return for an honest review 
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Kitty is everything you could want in a nurse, and I loved this well written book.

Many thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.
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A beautiful story of nursing, 
Set around the life of nurse Kitty and her family and work friends

The story starts on VE day and gives a glimpse of life around Manchester as well as what life was like for a young nurse. With strict matron's and strict hospital routines. The story covers some gritty topics, from badly injured service men to back street abortions. As well as the start of the NHS
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Nurse Kitty's Secret War by Maggie Campbell gives a most enjoyable story to readers who love historical wartime books. The novel describes events of doctors and nurses based at an NHS Hospital operated during the 2nd World War. 

The author successfully described the events of the NHS Hospital daily routines but also people's heartaches and sufferings during war times. The storyline gives the reader an in-depth insight into the difficulties faced by hospital personnel and their families. The pain experienced by the patients, the long hours invested by the doctors and nurses and the typical strict rules forced down by the matrons give real meaning to the book. 

Kitty, a nurse at the NHS hospital, experienced a list of difficulties during the time. The storyline explains her worries, hurt, relationship problems and challenges to look after her mother. She was also dealing with a problem farther.  As much as the patients needed help, so much, the hospital staff experienced their own pain.

This book gives meaningful insight into a world of relationship building and understanding the complexities experienced during the 2nd WW.
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A very enjoyable read, I like reading these types of books because I find them fascinating and interesting. 

The characters in this were well developed which I loved, Kitty is a nurse during World War 2, though the story begins when the war has just ended and thought that was the case, it was still a rocky road back to what home would have been once like. Unlike some nurses from this era, Kitty comes from an underprivleged, deprived background, and finds working as a nurse has tested not only her medical skills and abilities but the her morals too, especially when she falls for a colleague who she believes feels the same way only to find out that her close friend is actually dating him. 
Nursing is especially full on at the best times and during the war, I would have imagined even more so, leaving even less time for social activities and down time and no time for families, especially for women, who were expected to leave should they marry as was the social norm for that era. Learning about these norms for the time, how life is in WW2 for our nurses and how family life is affected. There is more to the story of course but I'm not here to share spoilers! 

The book flows quite nicely and throughout unfolds nicely. There are many descriptive scenes within the book, leading me to believe that the author is well read herself and well researched into the time. I really liked how the author set scenes so nicely and how when reading you can transport there to that moment in time in the books, however, still has the ability to get your imagination flowing which not every author can do and I really liked that. 

It goes without saying that readers will get attached to Kitty, she's selfless and strong, she is a nurse and upholds everything stereotypically that the public think of when they connect with nursing attributes, kind, caring etc that said, she is definitely not a pushover, she has a certain amount of gumption that could see her climbing the promotion chain over the years, she's a fiesty but fair type of heroine!  Kitty is not only a wonderful nurse,  but a lovely person, the kind anyone would be lucky to have in their life. Her life isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, she has her own worries, and life struggles from family, hardship and job worries like anyone but she eventually see's these problems being worked through. 

The connection to the NHS which is very strong at the moment, adored and well loved and appreciated as I read this during lockdown made me feel proud to read this story, I know Kitty would have represented so many young nurses within this country over the years.  

I would definitely read more from Maggie Campbell with this series and any other books she does, she writes so nicely and this left me feeling happy when I finished this book! 

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!
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Thank you Net Galley, the author and the publisher for a copy of this book in return for a frank review.

I enjoyed the book - it was interesting to read about the start of the NHS. 
It was predictable with the nurse meets doctor storyline. The family life of Kitty and the associated poverty also added to the details of the story. 
I had never thought that the British soldiers needing medical care would need to pay for their treatment for wounds received whilst fighting for King and Country. (there is one place where Queen and country are mentioned which wasnt so in 1948). 
I found some of the language difficult - references to 'bounder' and 'rotter' amused me.

It was also interesting to read of the hardships of the Winter of 1947  - and how the grinding poverty affected the Manchester people.
All in all a good read
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Loved this book I was drawn right into the world of these young girls,Their hard work families romance made for a really involving read.#Betgalley#orionbooks
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This book starts in 1945, shortly before the end of the war, and takes us through the last days of WW2, the immediate aftermath and through to the birth of the NHS in 1948.
The story centres around Kitty Longthorne, a nurse at Park Hall hospital in Manchester. Kitty is a likeable character. She comes from a poor working class family & sometimes struggles to fit in amongst her middle class colleagues & the hierarchy at the hospital where doctors are seen as demi-gods while Sister Iris & Matron are to be feared. Kitty is hard working & principled. We see her grow in confidence as she stops trying to complete with sophisticated Violet and finds a hidden ally in Matron.
We follow Kitty through the realities of being a trainee nurse during the war, her “secret war” is the war against poverty that so many of the local population were suffering from in the late 1940s in the immediate aftermath of the war, the rationing, the severe winter and the changes that were happening in society as men returned from war and women struggled to adjust to their new roles after doing war-work. In addition to Kitty trying to break free from her upbringing and distance herself from her father who is in prison, we see Kitty struggling with the moral dilemma of treating certain patients in the hospital with the latest penicillin whilst being unable to help her own mother when she gets a severe infection, and of seeing the poorest people being unable to access basic medical care due to the cost. The reality she faces every day between right & wrong, rich & poor, following the rules or bending them slightly to help someone in need.
There is a romance, which is quite “obvious” but unnecessary. I would have enjoyed the book even more without the “nurse meets doctor and falls in love” story, I feel that the book would have been somewhat richer without it, but I can see why the author included it as it will appeal to many readers.
The note at the end helps to explain why the book is so well written! Not only did the author train as a midwife, which helps to explain the intimate knowledge of the maternity ward/hospital working, but she grew up in similar circumstances to those we see Kitty in and had people around her who had lived & worked in the area during this period.
Overall this is a delightful easy read that will appeal to a wide variety of readers – those who like family sagas, those who like romance, those who like wartime stories, those who like medical settings … it would be a great summer “beach read”.

Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy of this book free from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.   How hard the nurses worked in the good old days and the comradeship between fellow workers.   Really enjoyed this book.   Great characters and a good storyline
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A young nurse,Kitty struggles to juggle her job with her family worries. Love is in the mix too as the war in Europe comes to an end.
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3,5 stars rounded up to 4

Kitty Longthorne is a nurse at Park Hall hospital in Manchester at the end of WWII. Her twin brother Ned is still a prisoner of war in Japan. Her father is in prison. Her mother works in a factory. Kitty tries to keep her poor upbringing from her colleagues. Kitty gets friendly with James, a young doctor. But she's afraid that her social background will come between them. Kitty is also hiding a couple of secrets.

This is quite an interesting and informative read. It covers some interesting facts about the  birth of the NHS and life in post war Britain. This is a well written book that's pace is steady. It's also quite an emotional read. The background to the era has been well researched. I quite enjoyed this  ook. 

I would like to thank NetGalley,  Orion Publishing Group and the author Maggie Campbell for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This was an interesting book spanning the end of WW2 as and the introduction of the NHS.

Kitty is a likeable character, hardworking and principled. She beats all the odds to win the guy and even though it looks like she’s lost him, you never truly believe it. 

I’ve met quite a few Violet’s and her character rang true. 

This is a nicely written, well paced book with an interesting storyline. It’s an easy read and I think my grandmother would love it! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book.
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With thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review. 
What a first class read it was captivating  from the word go and held my interest  through  out the whole book  I have nothing  but admiration for  what these girls done under  the circumstances of  war I can highly recommend this book.
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Kitty's story of being a nurse at the end of the second world war and the beginning of the National Health Service is an endearing one. The trials and hardships of a nurse with a family struggling to survive really come through. I did find it difficult to reconcile the warmth and compassion of Kitty with the character of James whom I found very lackluster. I enjoyed the history and medical side of the book, the romance, not so much..
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The year of 1945 victory day
Kitty Longthorne nursing the wounded in Manchester park hospital 
Her twin brother Ned  is still a prisoner of war in Japan 
Her father Bert after doing time in prison turns up she has to protect her mam Elsie from him.
This is Kitty's  little secret.
Her family life starts to go from bad to worse. 
Life and work is still busy during her nursing career and kitty is in for one rollercoaster ride.
This book was a delightful read right through to the end 
Its a book to pick up and enjoy right to the full.
Loved it
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