Review: 'Ambulance Girls' by Deborah Burrows (2017)
On duty during London's Blitz...
As death and destruction fall from the skies day after day in the London Blitz, Australian ambulance driver, Lily Brennan, confronts the horror with bravery, intelligence, common sense and humour.
Although she must rely upon her colleagues to carry out her dangerous duties, Lily begins to suspect that someone at her Ambulance Station may be giving assistance to the enemy by disclosing secret information. Then her Jewish ambulance attendant and best friend, David Levy, disappears in suspicious circumstances. Aided, and sometimes hindered, by David’s school friend, a mysterious and attractive RAF pilot, Lily has to draw on all of her resources to find David but also negotiate the dangers that come from falling in love in a country far from home and in a time of war.
On the 23rd of February Deborah Burrows’ novel ‘Ambulance Girls’ was released by publisher Ebury Press and I was one of the lucky book bloggers to receive an early review copy of the book! I wasn’t yet familiar with Deborah Burrows before picking up this read, even though she has written quite a number of historical fiction reads over the years. As some of you might know by now I can really enjoy a good wartime romance every now and again, so I was definitely excited to give this title a shot. It is actually the start of a new series of which the description immediately spoke to me and sounded like something I would enjoy, so I had my fingers crossed for a good read!
Australian Lily Brennan is far away from home, working as an ambulance driver during the London Blitz. While her job comes with its dangers and horrors, Lily loves it and always tries with everything she has to help others. Luckily she has a partner in Jewish ambulance attendant David Levy, who feels the same passion for his job as she does. But then David suddenly disappears, and Lily can’t help but feel that something strange is going on. What happened to David and why? She gets help from one of David’s school friends, Jim, and that’s help she will undoubtedly need as she tries to solve the mystery surrounding David’s disappearance while dealing with the every-day dangers of war none of them are able to get away from…
‘Ambulance Girls’ has a brave and strong heroine at its core in the shape of ambulance driver Lily Brennan, and within the very first chapter Lily had already won me over with her determination, her focus and admirable character. I really enjoy reading war-time novels with female characters at the centre of the story, and learning more about their different roles during the war. Author Deborah Burrows obviously did her research before starting this book; even though I am certainly no expert on this topic, her portrayal of London during the Blitz is realistic and I really liked the attention to detail which made it easy to picture everything in my head while reading and to experience everything alongside the convincing characters.
Next to Lily there are a number of fascinating characters in the novel, such as her partner David and some of the other colleagues working for the London ambulance service. I couldn’t help but feel at times that with such an interesting collection of characters there could have been some other elements added to the storyline to really keep my attention at all times, because I felt things were a bit slow-paced at times. However, there’s a touch of mystery to the story, just as a bit of romance, so all in all it was certainly an entertaining read, and I was glad to find out this Ambulance Girls series will most likely have two more books, which I already can’t wait to check out as well. On the whole, ‘Ambulance Girls’ is an authentic, well-researched and warm-hearted novel that I really enjoyed reading; certainly one to keep in mind if you’re looking for an entertaining war-time romance read!