Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aiding the Enemy by Julie Rowe

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Read: October 23, 2013

German-occupied Brussels, Belgium. December 1915. Rose Culver is in grave danger. For months the Red Cross head nurse has been aiding Allied soldiers caught behind enemy lines, helping them flee into neutral Netherlands. It's only a matter of time until she's caught. Which makes it the wrong time to fall in love with a handsome German military doctor as devoted to the sanctity of human life as she is. The Great War has caused Dr. Herman Geoff to question everything he once believed. He knows Rose has been hiding British soldiers in her hospital—he's even treated some of them, refusing to go against his own Hippocratic oath. As a doctor, he admires Rose's skill and conviction. As a man, he can no longer deny his attraction to her. But when Rose is arrested for treason, Herman must choose between love for her and duty to his country…

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Dedication at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Passendale
Though I reviewed them in chronological order I actually read Julie Rowe's War Girls series in reverse which means I started with book three, Aiding the Enemy. Now I'm not going to say you can't follow my example, that doesn't seem exactly fair, but I think there are pros and cons regardless of where you choose to begin. 

Nurse Rose Culver pushed Maria out the door in Saving the Rifleman and supported Judith in Enticing the Spymaster. Aiding the Enemy is her story. Hers and Dr.  Herman Geoff's, but if you read the blurb you already knew that. My point is reading these book as written gives you a better appreciation for how long Rose endured and stood firm against the insurmountable and the underlying correspondence between each of the stories adds a nice touch to the series as a whole.  

So what's the downside? Initially I liked the way events played out in this piece, but I've got to admit, I was less impressed with it after reading Rowe's earlier books. Like its predecessors, Aiding the Enemy centers on a couple forced to flee occupied Belgium with the German military on their heels. The couple uses a similar cover story, loose themselves to their desires and have a remarkably familiar misunderstanding before all is said and done. There are enough details to differentiate each book, but there are also enough similarities to give a reader pause. 

Weighing these aspects against each other, well it's a hard one to call. Kind of a six of one, half a dozen of the other type deal. Neither is enough to make the book, but neither is enough to break it. Truth be told, if it weren't for the maggots, I might still be sitting on the fence about this one. 

You read that correctly. My opinion of Aiding the Enemy was ultimately determined by a handful of juvenile blowflies. Well, some kind of fly at any rate. Rose doesn't encounter an entomologist in the book so the details are really anyone's guess, but that's beside the point. What I'm getting at here is my appreciation for how Rowe approached her material. We got a sense of how to treat the wounded and conduct surgical procedures in the earlier books, but that is the kind of thing I expect in war lit that features the Red Cross. What I liked about Aiding the Enemy was how it illustrated medicine as an evolving science and offered readers a certain understanding of how far we've come over the course of the last century. 

Ultimately, I liked Aiding the Enemy and think it a worthy conclusion to the three part set. Though somewhat repetitive, I can't deny the book is an enjoyable and entertaining romance with enough factual information and sentimentality to make it both historically unique and emotionally satisfying.  

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“I took a vow to prolong life, to do no harm, as you did. How can I be prosecuted for it?”
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Check out all the stops on Julie Rowe's Aiding the enemy VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR


Monday, November 11
Review, Guest Post & Giveaway at Romantic Historical Reviews
Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, November 12
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview & Giveaway at Book-alicious Mama
Wednesday, November 13
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, November 14
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, November 15
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at History Undressed


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