My Rating: I’d go there again!
Aiding the Enemy is the third installment in Julie Rowe’s War Girls series. All of these short novellas take place in the midst of World War One and feature nurse heroines that find love amidst the drama of war. I’ve read the first two books of the series and have enjoyed them both, and the latest addition to the series was just as fast paced and engaging.
In Aiding the Enemy we return to Nurse Rose Culver, who readers of the series will remember as the nurse that helped Maria and Lieutenant Bennett from book one escape from the Germans. Rose has continued to help British soldiers from her post in a Belgian hospital; however, more recently she has come under close scrutiny. Despite the increasing danger, Rose refuses to stop her efforts to help all of those that have been affected by war. The type of uniform the men are wearing doesn’t matter in the least to Rose, and this outlook has gained her the respect of German doctor, Herman Geoff.
Doctor Geoff has long admired Rose’s efforts at the hospital, but is determined to keep her at an arms length as you never know what direction the war will turn. When Rose is arrested for helping the British, Herman knows that he has to do something to protect the woman he has come to care for, even if he risks a charge of treason. Herman proposes to Rose and the two flee Belgium for the neutral Netherlands with the Germans in hot pursuit.
While Aiding the Enemy is part of a series, each book can be read as a stand alone novel. There are references to characters from the previous books, but each book focuses on a specific couple. Each of these stories are very sweet and short; they are a perfect read for when you don’t have a lot of time, but you want a complete story.
The romance between Rose and Herman was rather subdued, and I would have to say it was quieter than the previous two books of the series, but I liked it. There was no big misunderstanding between Rose and Herman, and any disruption to their relationship was resolved quickly. I don’t generally like a romance with a lot of angst and flip-flopping of emotions, so the lack of romantic discord worked for me. The romance was nice and Rose and Herman were nice people, if any thing they were a little too nice. But, some times you just want a read that is nice; that’s about nice people who have their happy ending without too many emotional difficulties (although, being on the run from the Germans is probably a pretty big barrier to the relationship).
I know this characterization of “nice” people may sound bland, but Aiding the Enemy certainly wasn’t. Herman and Rose were up against some impossible odds. Herman was a German officer and Rose a British Red Cross nurse. By rights they should have been enemies, but they found some common ground through their work. I liked the fact that these seemingly insurmountable odds were taken care of rather quickly so that these two exemplary people got their happy ending. I thought this relationship was handled in a believable manner, considering Herman and Rose’s countries were at war. The fact that they were both in the medical profession helped lend a credible reason for why Herman and Rose would consider each other in a romantic light. Overall, the romance was great, and it just may be my favourite of the series.
I also have to mention the setting. Since reading the first two books in the series, I have been fascinated with the world war one setting. I don’t think Rowe romanticizes the era, especially considering the use of maggots in medical care (shudder), so I found the setting to be fairly authentic. I find this atmosphere to be fascinating and it’s one that I’ve been seeking out more and more. If you’re looking for something about the after effects of the war I urge you to check out Simone St. James ASAP. Her novels are fantastic and they really take a look at the ghosts of the war both literally and figuratively. I reviewed her most recent novel, An Inquiry into Love and Death, back in June 2013, and I cannot rave enough about her highly atmospheric post-war novels. Obviously, I really like this era in my fiction, so I was pretty much guaranteed to like Aiding the Enemy.
Aiding the Enemy was a solid addition to the series and I think anyone who likes the world war one setting with be intrigued with this war time romance. I can’t wait to see more from the series, and I’m hoping that there will be more!
Instead of doing read-alikes for this novella, this time round, I’m going to list some world war one era books that I’m looking forward to reading (some have been published and some have yet to be):
*Review copy provided via NetGalley.