Fortitude by Carrie Dalby – Review by Sarah Oakes

FortitudeFortitude by Carrie Dalby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great read about bravery. Claire O’Farrell is a woman living in America with her family. She speaks her mind and has strange acquaintances which get her into trouble. One day, she and her friend Loretta decide to sign up as nurses to help soldiers in the Spanish – American War. The story follows her adventure in this vocational calling, through danger and illness and violence as Claire grows as a character with the story. When she gets tangled up in events, will her bravery help her make it out alive?
A great read. Well developed plot with twists and turns. Well developed characters like Claire standing up for herself but also kind and compassionate underneath or Joe as funny and wise but also kind underneath. Great cast of supporting characters like the strict Aunt Norah or the lilvely Loretta.
I loved the visual detail throughout the novel like with the island with the waves and the boats and the seagulls and its sights and smells as if you were actually there. Or with the farmhouse with its hills and goats and chickens for a sense of farm life and family written perfectly.
I liked the sense of it being a bildungsroman as Claire grows as a person throughout the narrative, with the first person used perfectly to display her thoughts and feelings. The sense of a historical novel was written well, with societal issues and gaslights and wars in the narrative.
The only issue i would raise is that there were a lot of long sentences which made it hard to get into to the narrative. This could be resolved by a variety of sentences lengths to keep the reader engaged. I would also have liked a date at the start as a chapter title to make it easier for the reader to know what time period it is, especially if you are not from America. Overall, a great read and I would give it four stars.

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