There's something about the Crimean war which meant that after World War one and two, it acquired a certain romance, what with 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and Florence Nightingale's lady of the lamp image.
So when I picked up 'The Rose of Sebastopol' by Katharine McMahon I wasn't entirely sure what I would be getting. Would it be a romanticised version of the war, or a gritty and realistic drama? Well, in actuality, it's a good mixture of the two.
Mariella is a sheltered, naive Victorian heroine, who is deeply in love with her fiancee Henry, and whose loyalty to cousin Rosa runs as deep her romantic love. When both her loved ones end up in the Crimea ill and lost respectively, Mariella abandons her comfortable, domesticated life and goes out to the heart of the war, only to discover Henry raving in delirium about Rosa. What follows is not just a quest for Rosa, but also the truth about both her relationship and who she really is.
Now I'm on a quest for more Crimean war books - apart from a biography of Florence Nightingale, I'm also hunting out a copy of 'Mrs Duberly's War'. Does anyone else have good suggestions?