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BOOK REVIEW: Rachel’s War by Mark Wilson

| 15 August 2021 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Rachel’s War by Mark Wilson

May 2021
Hardcover, $26.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Non-Fiction / Children’s Picture Books / Historical

85% Rocking


Growing up on a farm in country Victoria, all Rachel wants is to help people. When war comes, she travels to distant Europe and the Middle East, working tirelessly to care for wounded and sick soldiers from the battlefields of Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Inspired by the life of Rachel Pratt, a World War I Australian army nurse who was awarded the Military Medal for bravery, this is an incredible story of bravery and sacrifice. 


When Rachel was growing up on the banks of Victoria’s Fitzroy River, she followed her older brother Robert like a shadow as he worked on the family farm.
Their life was tough, but her mother told her many times, ‘Be strong, work hard and everything will turn out fine.’

Thus begins the story of the life of one of Australia’s heroic WWI nurses. 

We follow Rachel as she graduates from nursing school, and then travels with the war effort to Lemnos, Cairo, and Bailleul in France, doing her best to treat wounded soldiers on both sides of the battle.

This book could have gone a little more into depth, as each part of Rachel’s journey is covered in just a few paragraphs. This is a good starting point, gives Rachel’s overall journey throughout the war, highlights the fact that nurses were rarely given benefits on their return from the dangerous work they did, and the illustrations are simply stunning and full of emotion. 

In that it is so brief, this book is accessible to younger readers and not overly heavy, despite the subject matter, but more in-depth reading would need to be done to really say you have a clear grasp of Rachel’s story. So this book should be treated as a good way to dip your toes into history, and a compelling journey through the illustrations.

Category: Book Reviews

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