This week’s Monday Book comes from writer Lizbeth Phillips, author of a pending YA fantasy series set in Abingdon.
A CASUALTY OF WAR by Charles Todd
(2017, Harper Collins/Wm Morrow, 377 pages)
The Great War: Living Casualties and Murder
Bess Crawford, a British nurse stationed at the front lines in France during the Great War, understands that the Armistice is just weeks away. Yet, the fighting continues. On her way to the front line after her orders are changed, she meets an English officer, Captain Alan Travis, who is from a plantation on the island of Barbados in the Caribbean. After a cup of tea, they part ways, but their brief encounter sets the novel into motion.
In the midst of all the gunfire, Captain Alan Travis arrives at a medical station with a bullet graze that skimmed his skull. He tells her that his cousin, Lieutenant James Travis, shot him as Germans were fleeing Allied forces. He is sent back to the front lines after being patched up.
He returns in an ambulance days later with the same claim about his cousin. Bess is curious about his unusual case and decides to investigate as the war comes to its end. She discovers the accused was dead when the shootings took place, but she cannot believe Captain Travis is lying or has lost his mind. Who shot at him if it was not his cousin? The war ends, and Captain Travis is evacuated to England to be treated at a brain injury hospital.
When she finds time, Bess travels to check on Captain Travis and discovers he is locked up for a brain injury and shell shock. Everyone thinks he has lost his mind. Everyone but Bess.
Determined to prove the officer has not lost his mind, she follows leads to expose the truth about cousin James Travis, a complex family history, and greed that threatens the Captain’s life. She will not stop until she has the truth, even when she puts herself in grave danger.
A Casualty of War drives the reader to the realization that the war is over, but the fighting at home has just begun. Dark deeds committed under the umbrella of war have come home to England to haunt villages and to taunt Bess Crawford in hopes she will give up.
About the Reviewer:
Liz Phillips is a middle school educator and writer living in a forgotten corner of Southwest Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.