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The Rose of Sebastopol

Narrated by: Clare Wille
Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Russia, 1854: the Crimean War grinds on, and as the bitter winter draws near, the battlefield hospitals fill with dying men. In defiance of Florence Nightingale, Rosa Barr - young, headstrong, and beautiful - travels to Balaklava, determined to save as many of the wounded as she can.

For Mariella Lingwood, Rosa's cousin, the war is contained within the pages of her scrapbook, in her London sewing circle, and in the letters she receives from Henry, her fiancé, a celebrated surgeon who has also volunteered to work within the shadow of the guns.

When Henry falls ill and is sent to recuperate in Italy, Mariella impulsively decides she must go to him. But upon their arrival at his lodgings, she and her maid make a heartbreaking discovery: Rosa has disappeared.

Following the trail of her elusive and captivating cousin, Mariella's epic journey takes her from the domestic restraint of Victorian London to the ravaged landscape of the Crimea and the tragic city of Sebastopol. As she ventures deeper into the dark heart of the conflict, Mariella's ordered world begins to crumble and she finds she has much to learn about secrecy, faithfulness and love.

©2007 Katharine McMahon (P)2008 Orion Publishing Group Ltd

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  • bookylady
  • 06-01-19

Really enjoyable.

Mariella is a young woman brought up to be dutiful and who aspires only to the life of a woman of her class, married to a doctor she loves. Her cousin Rosa, however, is a free spirit who longs to escape the strictures of her life with an invalid mother and to become a nurse in Florence Nightingale's Crimean War hospital.

When Mariella travels to Italy to nurse her sick fiance she finds herself suspecting that he has fallen in love with Rosa. Mariella agrees to travel to the Crimea to find Rosa, who is missing, and thus begins a complicated and dangerous mission.

The plot is told partly in flashback fashion in order to flesh out the back stories of the characters and to set up the various main threads of the narrative.

The story is well written and there is not too much military detail to get bogged down in. The world of Florence Nightingale's nursing enterprise in the Crimea proved to be an interesting backdrop for an unusual love story.

I really enjoyed the story and the narration was excellent.