Tuesday, 2 August 2016

A Rewarding Read - A Nontraditional Account of WW1





At last! Somebody has explained The Mystery of Isabella and the String of Beads
Here's blogger Connie Ruzich's 5* review from Goodreads

"This non-fiction book balances two stories, one a biography, the other a mystery. The first story relates the compelling experiences of Isabella Stenhouse, an intrepid Edwardian who was one of the small minority of women in Scotland to be awarded a medical degree at that time. Shortly after graduating from medical school in Edinburgh, Isabella volunteered as a physician and tended the wounded of the First World War in in France, Malta, and Egypt. Her life story is compelling and is augmented with historical insights that deserve a wider understanding and appreciation. From the medical facts of gas gangrene to the social contexts of spiritualism, author Katrina Kirkwood supplements her story with well-researched background information. The book should strongly appeal to anyone with an interest in nontraditional accounts of the First World War and those who wish to learn more about women’s history in the conflict.

The second narrative, interwoven with Isabella Stenhouse’s story, is the journey of Isabella’s granddaughter and her quest to learn more about her grandmother’s unusual war experience. Using family photos and artifacts (including Isabella’s medical instruments and the string of beads referred to in the book’s title), the author sets out to research her grandmother’s life. This part of the story moves from archives in London to forgotten beaches in Alexandria. Using her imagination to speculate on Isabella’s motives and to fill in blank spaces in Isabella’s story, Kirkwood adroitly balances on the tightrope between fact and speculative opinion. Her account of the search for her grandmother’s history should appeal to others who have embarked on a similar quest and is instructive for those who would like to investigate their ancestors’ involvement in the Great War.

An unusual book about an uncommon war experience, Kirkwoods’ fresh perspective on the First World War is a rewarding read."

Thank you, Connie!

Paperback and eBook versions are both available from Amazon and can be ordered from all good bookshops.

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