New novel focuses on SCW nurse

July 5, 2012
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Come from Afar by Gayla Reid

A new novel, Come from Afar by Gayla Reid, tells the story of a female Australian nurse who volunteers for the Spanish Relief Council during the Spanish Civil War.  According to author M.A.C. Farrant, this is no stereotypical war nurse.

What follows is a lengthy sojourn in Britain waiting to receive a Spanish posting; caring for an elderly woman there who was dying; a “bizarre” and “clueless” marriage to a British archeologist living in Spain; widowhood; nursing work caring for the Republican soldiers; and then her meeting and nursing Douglas Ross, the wounded soldier from British Columbia who is to become her great love and who also fulfills the requirements of the genre.

Most interesting throughout are Clancy’s frequent unsentimental remarks about nursing: “Every experienced nurse is a practised deceiver. Smile for the patient; do not disclose. It’s an accomplishment I honed in Spain. You had to learn to pack away the most appalling news and get on with it.”

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