Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Book Review: Sue Barton Rural Nurse by Helen Dore Boylston (Sue Barton #4)


Sue Barton, Rural Nurse. At twenty-three, high-spirited and courageous young Sue Barton goes to practice in the White Mountains - working with Dr. Bill Barry. Bill had proposed persistently and at last, gladly, Sue decides to marry him and help him with his country practice. But fate, in the form of personal tragedy, a typhoid epidemic, and the hostility of the town to Bill as a doctor, step in to complicate their lives. It is a wonder that a hurricane could lead not to further tragedy but to a potentially exciting future for Sue, Bill, and all of Springdale.

My Review:
The wedding is postponed when Bill's father dies and he has to make arrangements to take care of his brother who was crippled by polio. Bill faces hostility from the locals for failing to solve an outbreak of typhoid in his town and Sue seeks outside funding to become a rural nurse in the town to support Bill.

This book is quite grim for our main characters. Bill is stressed and losing patients. Some of them fear that Bill is the carrier of the disease and others think he is a quack because he cannot solve the case. The mutterings behind his back are one thing but his tyres are slashed and rocks are thrown at him, shocking Sue. Sue decides to play detective as more people will talk to her about recent events. I'm glad to see that Bill and Sue are working as a team instead of having petty fights in this book, and I have sympathy for what they are facing.

The plot does not feature a lot of actual nursing compared to the rest of the series but the typhoid mystery is interesting in its own right. I liked the way Sue was able to piece the whole thing together.

Kit doesn't really feature as much in this book but Bill is working hard to get her the Superintendent of Nurses job at the nearest hospital, so she can have her dream job and be closer to Sue. She is with Sue as she prepares to leave New York for New Hampshire, and later she moves out to join Sue and Marianna at Veazie Ann's house. I liked the fact that Bill and Sue are moving into town and we are meeting the local people like Ira, Veazie Ann, Lot, Martha and Elias. We have the introduction of a gorgeous puppy called Maxl who I loved instantly!

Marianna, sadly, does feature. I just don't like her at all. This time, Sue sends for her from the city and then has no time to spend with her or even notice that the girl isn't happy. When Marianna admits to hating the country, missing the city and no longer wanting to be a nurse, instead of respecting her opinion, Kit and Sue embark on a campaign to change Marianna's mind and get her to nursing school. This 'pet project' thing with Marianna has gone beyong a joke for me as this girl does not have the motivation, dedication or ability to be a nurse! It's so obvious that this will never work out! Sue should never have brought a city girl out to the country if she wasn't going to look after her and pay attention to her needs. It was pretty selfish of Sue.

I found it very hard to understand what some of the characters were saying as the author chose to use have them talking local slang. It was quite off putting and I had to read some sentences a few times to get what they were trying to say. I don't enjoy it when authors decide to use this plot device. However, it was a niggle and I didn't mark the book down for it.

I liked the way the typhoid story was concluded but my favourite bit was the town under attack from the hurricane, other than Marianna being a cow to the local kid who was talking to her. I which she'd just leave town. Overall it was still an enjoyable book and I plan to carry on with the series. 
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

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