Monday 20 May 2024

Review - The Nurse Behind the Gates by Shari J. Ryan

The Nurse Behind the Gates by Shari J. Ryan
Publisher: Bookouture
Release date: 20 May 2024
Back cover blurb: Dachau, 1942. Emilie has been told she’s here to nurse evil men. But the first patient she sees in the cold, dark room is hauntingly familiar. Her first love is not wicked. He couldn’t be. What is he doing here? Emilie’s heart stops as she takes in her childhood sweetheart hunched in a tattered prisoner’s uniform, the light lost from his face. Her new husband, Otto, said this was a camp for criminals. He should know, he’s the doctor. But Danner would never have broken the law. As she looks into Danner’s beautiful brown eyes, she's transported back to their happy childhood in Munich. The friendship they shared. The way her heart once felt like it beat only for him. Before the Jewish laws were enforced and Danner pushed Emilie away to protect her, breaking her heart. Now, Emilie rushes to find Otto, desperate for answers. But when she discovers him waiting with confidentiality papers for her to sign, she realizes her husband has been lying. This isn’t a place to treat sick criminals, but to murder the innocent. And Otto tells her if she doesn’t help, they'll both die. Her hands shake as she receives her instructions. But as she rushes back to the sickbay, searching for a way to escape, her gaze lands on Danner once more. In his eyes, she can see something that almost looks like hope… The thought of losing her first love again tears Emilie’s heart in two. She's determined to keep him alive, and perhaps she can alter the fate of more than just one prisoner. But can she save Danner? Or will she die trying to rescue the man she’s never stopped loving?

This is a beautifully written, harrowing tale of love, loss and hope during WWII.

Danner and Emilie are the very definition of childhood sweethearts. He has grown up on the same street as her, and their mutual friends, Otto, Felix and Gertie. They realise that they love each other early in their teenage years, when they begin to see each other a little differently to how they see their other friends.

As the world around them begins to change, and not for the better, Danner realises that he cannot love Emilie, for he is a Jew, and he does not want to place her in Danger.

As time progresses and the situation for Jews becomes more and more dangerous, he begs her to marry their mutual friend Otto, and promise that she will be happy.

At first, it seems like the right thing to do. But when she is forced to give up her medical studies and move to Dachau with Otto who is involved in a research project she wonders if she's made a mistake.

It isn't until she begins work at Dachau herself that she wonders if she knows her husband at all.

The 'research' that he is involved with is human experimentation, and Danner is one of the inmates that she will be expected to participate experimenting on.

Emilie knows that Danner did nothing wrong? Dachau is a camp for criminals or so she thought? She quickly realises that the Nazi regime that she opposes regards simply being a Jew as a crime.

She is appalled and horrified, wanting to run away from her husband and Dachau and never return. But she knows that she must stay and work through her anger and fear if she is ever hope of saving Danner.

The Nurse Behind the Gates is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

x Vicky-Leigh x

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