Book review: Call Nurse Jenny by Maggie Ford

Will love conquer all for a young couple when Europe is plunged into war in 1939?
Call Nurse Jenny by Maggie FordCall Nurse Jenny by Maggie Ford
Call Nurse Jenny by Maggie Ford

Maggie Ford, who has been writing short stories since the early 1970s, is a born storyteller and Call Nurse Jenny, previously published as For All The Bright Promise, whisks us away to the tough years of the Second World War.

Written with warmth and a deep affection for the hardy folk of London’s East End where Ford grew up, this is a compelling and emotional tale of love, resilience and determination in extraordinary times.

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Nineteen-year-old Jenny Ross, who lives with her widowed mother in Hackney, has been in love with neighbourhood friend Matthew Ward for years. The only trouble is that carefree, handsome Matthew is a heartbreaker and seems unaware of her passion for him.

When war is declared, Matthew joins the army, determined to escape his controlling mother and make his own way in the world. Jenny is too shy to make her feelings known and Matthew leaves London thinking of her as just his ‘best friend.’

Lonely and restless in the gloom of blackout London, Jenny decides to do her bit for the war effort and trains to be a nurse. It turns out to be her vocation and her newfound skills fuel her ambitions and give her hopes for the future a sharper focus.

Armed with fresh confidence in herself and her abilities, Jenny looks forward to Matthew returning and seeing the change. But when he finally comes home to war-torn Hackney, Matthew brings his own bombshell… a wife.

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Is it the end of the line for Jenny’s dreams of sharing the rest of her life with him?

Using a multi-perspective narrative, Ford captures all the uncertainty, danger and despair of wartime in a heartwarming and nostalgic story that brims with raw emotion and high drama.

A treat for all true romantics…

(Ebury, paperback, £5.99)