Get it at Amazonfrom our DIK review: The war is over but the suffering – and dying – are not. It is December of 1918 and Bess is working at a base hospital in France. The patients are primarily amputees, whom they are watching for signs of infection and depression. The latter is as much a killer as the former, for many of the men will be going home with no way to make a living. Worried about being a financial drain upon their families, they often commit suicide in an effort to eliminate the problem. Bess is especially concerned about their Welsh patients, many of them coal miners with limited education and no other skills who are now unable to perform the grueling, physical labor required in the pits. A few of them manage to kill themselves while still in the hospital and Bess is certain several more will be successful once they leave the watchful eye of the nurses. After they are dismissed, she receives a note from Captain Hugh Williams, the officer who had been in charge of the Welsh unit. The men are deeply despairing and he himself is suffering from desperation and despondency at both his own life as an amputee and his failed efforts to help his men. Bess, profoundly moved by the note, takes leave. Hiring a car and driver she visits the bleak Welsh mining village the men are from but upon arrival learns all of them are dead but one. He has strong support from his mother and will likely be fine. The Captain himself has left the valley to help his sister-in-law Rachel, his brother Tom’s widow, with her sheep farm on a remote, storm-battered peninsula. According to his sister, the Captain doesn’t know about the most recent deaths, so Bess determines to bring him that news and see if there is anything she can do for his own situation. Upon arrival she discovers the extremely isolated hamlet – a place with no shops, restaurants, hotels or even phones or telegraphs – peopled by a harsh, secretive group of villagers. Bad weather forces Bess to spend the night with Captain Williams and Rachel but when morning comes she finds her driver has deserted her and she has literally no way to reach or contact the outside world until travelers come in the spring. During her stay, as she desperately tries to figure out a way home, she discovers the secret the villagers are hiding. A secret they have killed to keep before – something they are doubtless willing to do again.
Grade: A-Check Review