The War Nurse tells the story of the Stahl Family during WWII. It takes place on two fronts, the Philippines and the US. Katerina Stahl is a nurse for the American Red Cross, while her parents, brothers and sister are in the US. Katerina and her fiance Jack Gallagher are scheduled to go home as their duties are done, but this is the eve of WWII and Pearl Harbor has been bombed and they end up staying and taking care of the injured. Meanwhile Katerina's family is taken into custody because they are German and even though the children were born in the US, the parents never became citizens. This causes a host of problems for the family.
War rages on and as time goes by Katerina and Jack are prisoners of the Japanese who treat the prisoners very badly. Food and medical suppliesbecomes a rarity and the prisoners are starving to death and a lot of them do die. They say that survival is of the fittest and that is definitely true in war time. In order to keep on surviving, Katerina becomes a smuggler for food and ends up doing things that are against what she believes in. The Stahl's in the US end up in an military internment camp for questioning by the FBi, Ellis Island and then to a camp in Texas. They suffer segregation, they are ostracized and ultimately face repatriation back to Germany.
War is hell and this story is just a glimpse into what the ravages of war can bring to innocent people. The author knows the ins and outs of nursing, did a remarkable amount of research in my opinion, to be able to tell this story of survival in a believable way. Very believable and likeable, and some not so likeable characters. There are a lot of WWII novels out there lately, but I believe that this one is a must to read.