Title: Heroic Measures
Author: Jo-Ann Power
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Reviewer: Paul Watson, head of child development and PSHE, Marshland High School
What was it like?
Jo-Ann Power has written a book of fiction honouring those who have served their country in war. She concentrates on a group whose blood and sweat were left in operating rooms and hospital tents, a group whose heroism has seldom been measured. We are told the story of nurse Gwen Spencer, an orphan sent to live with a vengeful aunt. We learn that Gwen picked coal and scrubbed floors to earn a living. But when she decides to become a nurse, she steps outside the boundaries of her aunt’s demands…and into a world of her own making. Leaving her hometown for France, she helps doctors mend thousands of brutally injured Doughboys under primitive conditions. Amid the chaos we hear how she volunteers to go ever forward to the front lines. Braving bombings and the madness of men crazed by the hell of war, she is stunned to discover one man she can love. A man she can share her life with. But in the insanity and bloodshed she learns the measures of her own desires. Dare she attempt to become a woman of accomplishment? Or has looking into the face of war and death given her the courage to live her life to the fullest?
What were the highlights?
I have to confess that I was not able to get past the first chapter. I am not a great fan of fiction and certainly not this type of book. I did however pass it on to my wife who picked it up and read the lot. The review that I now give is as a response to her comments and thoughts about the book; “The story was interesting and exciting with twists and plots that kept the attention. A romantic story that developed from a situation, like many other young people’s lives. This story takes and exciting ride, however, when Gwen bravely pushes up to the front line and falls in love. A good read” (so my wife said).
Strengths & weaknesses:
I struggled to get going at all and had to put it down. The sentence construction was poor and the plot was slow to get going. The overall story was not one that could hold my attention and this was not helped, in my opinion, by the disjointed construction and lack of connectives. My wife, on the other hand, highlighted that the further in to the book she got the better all of this became, with the fluidity of the book becoming much more harmonious with the increasingly exciting story line.
Who should read it?
If you are a fan of “Chick Flicks” or “Romance Novels” then this is for you. I am a man about to turn 40 and was not able to get into this book, my 16yr old daughter was utterly frustrated by the beginning of the book, with characters and details that just managed to confuse. My wife though, thought that this was an interesting read, and as such has now taken ownership of the book. I am sure that there are many well discerning women (and men) like my wife who will thoroughly enjoy this book.