“Jennifer Vanderbes (Easter Island; Strangers at the Feast) takes on the ravages of war in The Secret of Raven Point. It is 1943 when 17-year-old Juliet Dufresne graduates from high school. She and her brother, Tuck, are exceptionally close. When he’s declared missing in action, she takes a nursing course, lies about her age and sets off for Europe as an army nurse, determined to find him.
Juliet is thrown into the blood and chaos of a field hospital. In a sprawling encampment north of Rome, she finds hard work, camaraderie with new friends and exposure to the worst war has to offer. The great cast of nurses, doctors and patients brings occasional moments of levity to a grim scenario.
Christopher Barnaby, a deserter awaiting court-martial because it appears he tried to kill himself, may hold the answer to her brother’s whereabouts—but what he suffered in the field has left him catatonic. A young psychiatrist, Dr. Henry Willard, takes Juliet on as his assistant as they try to access the deepest recesses of Barnaby’s mind.
Some of Vanderbes’s best writing comes from Christopher’s description of what happened to him in the field. Henry puts him under with sodium pentothal to plumb the horrifying depths of his memories of combat. The experience brings Juliet and Henry closer together—and they ultimately make a dangerous decision that puts their careers and their lives on the line. Part history, part coming of age novel, The Secret of Raven Point is a moving tale of what war does to all of us.”
—Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Cannon Beach, OR, for Shelf Awareness.