ICYMI: The Winter Soldier is a World War I tale full of medical details and lovely, unlikely bonds. This is a five-star read from the author of North Woods.
Lucius is a young medical student when World War I sweeps across Europe. With romantic notions in his head about noble work in a field hospital filled with brilliant surgeons, he enlists and heads to his post in the remote Carpathian Mountains.
But there he finds one solitary nurse, Sister Margarite, bravely keeping together the makeshift clinic, which has been decimated by typhus. The other doctors have all left.
Lucius is surrounded by grave injuries but has never even wielded a scalpel He'll learn more from Sister Margarite--who he's falling for--than he ever could have in his classes. She's been building an immense wealth of practical knowledge while trying to save the broken soldiers.
This was wonderful. The details of World War I injuries and methods of treatment were fittingly grim and sometimes gruesome, but Mason's writing is beautiful and evocative, conveying the cold and brutal nature of war and loss, the chilling nature of acts done in coldhearted necessity, and the warm, promising hope of love.
The novel began a little slowly for me, but when it got going I became completely lost in it. I read this with my book club.
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Daniel Mason is also the author of North Woods, The Piano Tuner, A Far Country, and A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth.