Friday, May 1, 2020

Book Review: The Story of Edith Cavell by Iris Vinton

The Story of Edith Cavell
Author:  Iris Vinton
Publisher:  Signature Books (1959)
178 pages
Genre:  Children's Biography

Edith Cavell grew up in the village of Swardeston, England.  Her father was the local vicar.  From a young age Edith was tidy, paid attention to detail and did her best to tell the truth.  These were all traits that served her well when she became a nurse.  

After graduating from school, she went to Brussels as a governess for a wealthy family.  When her father became ill, she left Brussels to return to Swardeston.  In an effort to help her mother, she volunteered to become her father's nurse while he recovered.  It was during these months that she realized she wanted to become trained as a nurse.  When her father was well, Edith went to London for nurse's training.  She carried out her tasks with swiftness and attention to detail.  The head nurse in London showed great respect for Edith and gave her more and more responsibility.  

Eventually she was asked to be a Directrice of a Clinique in Brussels that would train nurses.  World War I broke out during this time and Edith found herself assisting wounded soldiers from France and England to get well and then get out of Belgium to a safe country.  Eventually the Germans discovered what she was doing and arrested her.

This is a thrilling story well told.  The theme of honesty is woven throughout.  Edith was a woman who wasn't afraid to do what was right, even at threat of her life.  She was a woman from whom peace emanated.  When her pastor came to see her before she died, she told him,

"Standing as I do, in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough.  I must have no hatred and no bitterness toward anyone."

Those words were engraved on her head stone at the Cathedral of Norwich in England.  

This book was written for middle school aged children, but older children would enjoy it as well.  It was enough information for me and I felt like I learned something about Edith, the history of nursing and World War I.  It would also make a great read aloud for younger children.

I recommend this book for anyone who would like to learn more about the history of nursing or World War I, as well as anyone who likes a good story about a godly woman.

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