Arts & Culture

Bega Valley Library Book Review – ‘Nightingale’ by Fiona McIntosh

Contributor17 November 2019

Photo: Supplied

This is an intriguing and often surprising story of two lovers.

The story is about the love and mutual devotion of a young man and his nurse, separated by unfortunate twists of fate as the young man was called to Gallipoli to fight Johnny Turk.

Both the young man and his nurse were drawn to other places by their professions.

A central point of the story is when during a momentary truce called in the trenches, a Turkish man of gentle nature gifted his Turkish bible to the young man from the opposite side. The Turkish man begged the young man to return his bible to his home upon the occasion of his planned death.

Without hesitation, the Turkish man then jumped directly into the line of fire and died. The young man survives a mortar attack by carrying the bible close to his chest, and thus saving his life.

Unable to do anything of note due to injury, the young man was later hospitalised by yet another twist of fate.

Through the most unusual of circumstances, the young man’s darling happens upon that same Turkish bible. She takes it upon herself to return the bible to Turkey out of respect to her beau whom she thought had died.

Touched by the nurse’s extraordinary feat of returning this keepsake, the Turkish soldier’s father becomes quite enraptured by the nurse’s beauty and compassion.

Without giving too much away I will reveal that the young man and his love are reunited.

I regard this novel as an excellent and compelling read to be enjoyed time and again. The novel contains descriptions of different cultures and traditions of various areas on the world map.

One must have a certain feeling of fondness for the Turkish father robbed not only of his beloved son but also of a beautiful woman who had touched his heart in a very intense way.

Review by Lehaan J, Bega Valley Shire Library Service member.


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