Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo
Although I do read other book genres, historical fiction is my favorite. World War II is my top favorite and I tend to read a lot, both fiction and non-fiction. When I heard about ‘Fire By Night’ at a webinar with the publisher, I knew I had to read it.
Fire By Night is a bit different than many WWII books out there. Its focus is on two American Military nurses that served near two different war fronts. Jo and Kay are from two very different parts of the U.S. Jo is from Brooklyn and Kay from a small town. However, in training they become fast friend and hope to serve together. That does not happen. Kay is sent to the Pacific and attends party after party and soaks in the sun. Jo is sent to France and is jealous that her friend is having so much fun.
The fun does not last for Kay. Once Pearl Harbour is bombed, the “endless” parties cease and the war with Japan begins. Kay’s story starts in the Japanese POW camp in Manila that she is now in. Jo’s unit is moving out because their make shift hospital is now part of the front. However, not everyone can move out at once and Jo is left to tend 6 badly wounded soldiers alone with just one elderly doctor. They know the trucks will be back for them soon but then here there was an attack and the road has a big hole in it and the trucks can’t get through. Soon the doctor dies and Jo is left on her own to tend to the men.
Told in turns, we join Jo and Kay during their terrifying ordeals and there aftermath. I connected with both Jo and Kay and rooted for them to survive. Both are strong female and heroic characters! This is Teresa Messineo’s first novel but you wouldn’t know that from reading it. She has a strong command in character development, prose, and a sense of time and place. With each chapter, I was instantly transported from Manila to France smoothly. I felt like I was both places, experiencing what Kay and Jo were experiencing. I hope that Ms. Messineo continues writing because I would love to read more by her! I highly recommend ‘Fire by Night’. It really has something for everyone; war, survival, terror, and even a bit of romance.
5/5 WWII fiction at it’s finest!
I received the ebook galley for Edelweiss for my honest review.
About Teresa Messineo
Teresa Messineo is an outspoken woman whose passionate social interest and positions have been featured in a special documentary, a World War II photo shoot and photographic notice in the New York Times – click on the link to read one such article, page 14: http://www.desales.edu/docs/default-source/desales-university-magazine/fall-20131eea1ec6cd0568828f7cff0000a3869d.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Teresa was alternatively schooled until her Freshman year, after which she transferred to a conventional high school. An honor student there, she earned a full scholarship to DeSales University where she ultimately won the Ross Baker Award for Excellence in Writing, that university’s highest honor for writing. She graduated with a BA in English in 1994, with minors in Biology and Theology, and earned her ICCE and LIBSS while teaching at Pennsylvania’s premier birthing center. Teresa passes on her love of learning through home schooling, even as she keeps an eye on medical missionary work for herself after she finishes educating her own kids. Teresa combines her love of medicine and writing in The Fire by Night.
Teresa is highly motivated about social justice and sticking up for the underdog. She volunteers at a food bank and is a ‘volunteer actor’ at her local hospital during disaster drills. She is the mother of four children, whom she has exclusively home schooled (her eldest son earned a scholarship to her own alma mater). Teresa’s other interests include swing dancing, travel, studying Italian, performing in a Philippine dance troupe, playing Irish Tenor Banjo in a Celtic band, and personal fitness – she swims in her YMCA’s 100 Mile Club (2014 marked her first year swimming the IronMan distance), takes Tabata class and competes in several obstacle mud runs each year. A voracious reader (she has read 2,397 books since completing college) and lifetime learner, Teresa’s motto is, ‘We learn from our mistakes.’