The Secret of Raven Point by Jennifer Vanderbes
|May 26, 2014||Posted by Christa McGrath under Drama, Historical Fiction, Suspense|
In the 1940s, when war was raging, Juliet’s beloved brother (Tuck) enlists in the army and is shipped out for battle. They keep in touch through letters. Eventually these letters stop. The family is later informed that Tuck is missing in action leaving Juliet devastated. But she is determined to find her brother. So after high school graduation, she enrolls in an accelerated nursing program to become an army nurse. She is sent to the frontlines of war where she is plunged into utter chaos and witnesses the bloody and disturbing effects of war. She is a compassionate nurse and tenderly cares for all her patients but never forgets her secret mission: to find out what happened to her brother. One day, a way-ward and badly injured solider arrives and she is assigned to his care. While this soldier lies comatose, Juliet realizes he may know of her brother’s whereabouts. She begins working with a psychiatrist, Dr. Henry Willard, to help the soldier recover from the damaging physical and emotional effects of war before he is court-martialed away. Using hypnosis-like techniques, they are able to dive into the horrifying depths of the soldier’s memories and what they discover forces them to question the morality of a so-called just war.
“The Secret of Raven Point” is a descriptively written book. Readers will witness the evolution of Juliet: from a naïve high school student at the beginning to a mature and worldly women toward the end. The war, undoubtedly, changes her. But she is a very likeable character and readers will find themselves routing for her. The author presents a fairly realistic portrayal of what it must have been like tending to the wounded soldiers who had lost limbs, gaping bullet holes, and bedraggled bodies. Vanderbes spears no detail here. There are other non-gruesome elements too and it is these elements that help balance out the devastating effects of war and add a touch of humor and warmth. I particularly liked how she developed the camaraderie between the nurses, Juliet’s crush on Dr. Willard, and the use of letters from home that were woven in. Though I must admit I was hoping for a different ending. And while the epilogue does give more insight, I was left with one burning question being unanswered.
Nonetheless, I was still captivated by the story and its characters, plot, and Juliet’s plight. It is a haunting and unforgettable tale about war and the conflicts that take place on and off the battle fields. All in all, this coming-of-age, wartime story that has elements of mystery, drama, and suspense is sure to move its readers.
To learn more about “The Secret of Raven Point”, visit: http://books.simonandschuster.ca/Secret-of-Raven-Point/Jennifer-Vanderbes/9781439167007