The Fire by Night

The Fire by Night

A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an I...

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Title:The Fire by Night
Author:Teresa Messineo
Rating:
ISBN:0062459120
Edition Language:English
Format Type:ebook
Number of Pages:320 pages

The Fire by Night Reviews

  • Brynna Clarke
    Jul 26, 2016

    Absolutely inspiring. Messineo captures so many incredible aspects of nursing, and I imagine does justice to the war-front. I can't wait to buy this book when it is finally released!

  • Diane S ☔
    Nov 15, 2016

    World War II, and two young woman, Kay and Jo, feel the need to do more, to sacrifice forma short time their lives in order to help the fighting soldiers, They join the military, attend nursing school, where they bond and become best friends. At the end of training they are hoping to be assigned to the same base but Jo is assigned to the western front while Kay is assigned to the South Pacific. For a while it looks as if Kay has pulled the ideal assignment, beautiful weather, beautiful beaches,

    World War II, and two young woman, Kay and Jo, feel the need to do more, to sacrifice forma short time their lives in order to help the fighting soldiers, They join the military, attend nursing school, where they bond and become best friends. At the end of training they are hoping to be assigned to the same base but Jo is assigned to the western front while Kay is assigned to the South Pacific. For a while it looks as if Kay has pulled the ideal assignment, beautiful weather, beautiful beaches, but then Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and both women find themselves in perilous conditions.

    I found this book to be intense, was very surprised by how much and how much I grew to like these young women, personally invested in their fates. Extremely well written, meticulously researched, the details mentioned that fit the time from morphine in boxes, to Kay's treatment in the camp. The author details her research at books end. Their were parts that made me shiver and parts where I actually got teary eyed, I was definitely emotionally invested. This a book about love, yes, there are two love stories here as well, friendship, sacrifice and commitment.

    For years women's roles in the war and in other areas has been non existent or sadly lacking at the least. It is refreshing that for the last several years these books, fiction and non are now being written. That women are finally being recognized for the many different parts they played, the danger they willingly put themselves in, and the tole it took. Many after suffered in silence, going through the same suffering PTSD that the returning soldiers did but this was never acknowledged. I applaud the new authors now writing these book featuring women from the Civil War and upwards.

    ARC from publisher.

    Publishes Jan, 2017.

  • Cora
    Sep 13, 2016

    I give this book a lot of credit for what it was trying to do. It followed two army nurses during WW2, one on the Western Front, and one in the Pacific arena, during the final days of the war. Jo (the one in Europe, and to me the more compelling character) is left with 6 patients in a field hospital on the front line, with dwindling medicine and food, and several acute cases on her hands; and Kay has been captured by the Japanese and is taken to an internment camp in the Philippines, with horrif

    I give this book a lot of credit for what it was trying to do. It followed two army nurses during WW2, one on the Western Front, and one in the Pacific arena, during the final days of the war. Jo (the one in Europe, and to me the more compelling character) is left with 6 patients in a field hospital on the front line, with dwindling medicine and food, and several acute cases on her hands; and Kay has been captured by the Japanese and is taken to an internment camp in the Philippines, with horrific conditions. Kay's story tells some of the background of the two friends, how they met, etc., as well as her experiences in the camp, with a bit at the end about her life after she gets home. Jo's story is half during, and half after the war, and goes into some depth on her recovery from the trauma of being on the front lines. I thought the part during the war was much more immediate and visceral, but I think it was important to show that these women could and did have things like shell-shock that we mainly associate with men during that time period.

    This doesn't bump Code Name Verity off the top of my list of favorite women-in-WW2 novels, but it was definitely worth reading.

  • Sue
    Oct 29, 2016

    I read a lot of books about World War II and am especially interested in the nurses who were often in harm's way. This book is one of the best that I have read on nurse's roles, the danger that they were often faced with and the grit and determination they had to have to survive.

    Jo and Kay met in nursing school and became friends. They both wanted adventure in their lives and they signed for the Army, hoping to go the the same location. Jo was sent to Europe, she wasn't exactly sure where becaus

    I read a lot of books about World War II and am especially interested in the nurses who were often in harm's way. This book is one of the best that I have read on nurse's roles, the danger that they were often faced with and the grit and determination they had to have to survive.

    Jo and Kay met in nursing school and became friends. They both wanted adventure in their lives and they signed for the Army, hoping to go the the same location. Jo was sent to Europe, she wasn't exactly sure where because the enemy lines kept changing and the hospital had to move when the enemy got too close. As the book begins, she has been left behind with six patients while waiting for transport to another area. Kay is sent to the Philippines which is a real paradise for the nurses until Pearl Harbor is attacked and the Japanese troops take over the Philippines. The nurses are sent to an interment camp and are kept in cruel captivity for the remainder of the war.

    The novel is told by Jo and Kay in alternating chapters. Many times in a book with two characters telling their story, I like one more than the other and skip ahead to read her story. In this book, I loved both Jo and Kay and was extremely interested in both of their struggles to survive the war. They were both faced with different but equally difficult circumstances and their survival was often in doubt. The author did a tremendous amount of research and it's very apparent in the details of the story.

    This is a story about the bravery and determination needed be a nurse on the battlefield during a war that changed the world as they knew it and their struggle to learn to live and accept their lives after the war was over.

    Thanks to the author for a copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

  • Bill
    Jan 08, 2017

    "Oh Teresa Messineo you are killing me! Parts of this book are so mesmerizingly compelling and while other segments read like a Hallmark Channel romance ... I love Jo and Kay but I am so mixed and torn about how you delivered them to me. "

    -Bill Westerlind, member of Goodreads and Free Bird Readers and amateur book reviewer

    I received an ARC copy of this book from the Westfield Athenaeum and as much as I wanted to love it, I just didn't! I liked it very much but love … not quite. The fie

    "Oh Teresa Messineo you are killing me! Parts of this book are so mesmerizingly compelling and while other segments read like a Hallmark Channel romance ... I love Jo and Kay but I am so mixed and torn about how you delivered them to me. "

    -Bill Westerlind, member of Goodreads and Free Bird Readers and amateur book reviewer

    I received an ARC copy of this book from the Westfield Athenaeum and as much as I wanted to love it, I just didn't! I liked it very much but love … not quite. The field of WWII historical fiction is so very crowded with so many extraordinary reads like All The Light We Cannot See that unfortunately, this one pales in comparison. I loved the view of the war from the perspective of military field nurses and I liked the connection of friendship between the Pacific and European theatres of war. But some of the content had a soap opera feel to me and the quality of writing was very good but not extraordinary. For me the bar has been set extraordinarily high in this genre.

    I love WWII historical fiction and this was my very first foray into the subset of the genre that centered on the experiences of battlefield military nurses. Jo McMahon and Kay Elliot, medical nurses who became tightly bonded, best friends after a sexual assault while working in a hospital in NY, signed up to join the war effort in 1941 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Kay left for the Pacific. Jo shipped out to North Africa.

    It’s the Spring of 1945. Jo McMahon, a twenty-six year old Army Corp nurse of Irish-Italian descent from NYC, is laboring to save the lives of six soldiers in a solitary medical tent on the Western Front in France. The conditions are harsh, the rest of the medical staff is killed when the retreating American convoy is strafed by the Germans and Jo is the only remaining nurse to treat the sick and wounded in the austere remnants of the once fully functional field medical facility. For Jo, the war boiled down to the six lives she struggled to save.

    For Kay Elliot, the Mount Carmel, PA native who got the plum assignment in the Pacific when she left New York in the spring of 1941, the bliss of the sunny Pacific quickly turned into the hell of the surrender of Bataan, the siege of the Malinta Tunnel on Corregidor Island in the Philippines and internment in the notorious Santo Tomas Internment Camp. During her three years of confinement, Kay shed nearly fifty pounds and was near death upon liberation in 1945.

    The woman stay connected despite the thousands of miles of separation through flashbacks, memories and letters written that would never be delivered. Both struggle with the violence and cruelty of war, the ironic hopelessness of attending to the wounds of injured soldiers only to send them back into the field and collect their scattered body parts for later identification, and the emotional walls they construct to survive the psychological horrors of death and endless suffering.

    I found it very interesting how each of these very young women managed to find love despite the violence and destruction all around them and their mighty struggle to exhibit perhaps innate motherly compassion on the battlefield while at the same time fighting back their emotions to remain focused on the survival of their patients and themselves. In my mind’s eye I could envision the rise and fall of tall, thick fortified walls holding back or releasing torrents of emotions!

    After the war, unbeknownst to them or the medical community at the time, both women find their way to cope with what is now identified as PTSD, to find their place in the world after so much stress and trauma and to seek out love that was taken from them during the war.

    While societal norms at the time gave little thought or praise for the women who served in WWII, I found these two young war veterans to be extraordinary souls and I came away with a far greater understanding and appreciation for the role and experiences of military field nurses.

    Overall, this was a very good first effort for Teresa Messineo and I look forward her future literary adventures. I recommend you give this book a try!

  • Mainlinebooker
    Feb 16, 2017

    This is not a book for the faint of heart. It is a story of war without sugar coating, covered in blemishes and warts. Two different nurses who had become friends in nursing school eagerly sign up to use their skills in WWII. However, real war turned out to be different than their expectations. Jo McMahon is sent to France while Kay Elliot ended up in the city of Manila, Philippines. Jo tries to minister to her bedraggled, starving patients in a poorly stocked tent while the Germans are advancin

    This is not a book for the faint of heart. It is a story of war without sugar coating, covered in blemishes and warts. Two different nurses who had become friends in nursing school eagerly sign up to use their skills in WWII. However, real war turned out to be different than their expectations. Jo McMahon is sent to France while Kay Elliot ended up in the city of Manila, Philippines. Jo tries to minister to her bedraggled, starving patients in a poorly stocked tent while the Germans are advancing closer and closer. Kay is stuck in a Japanese POW camp where atrocities field her every day life. Prodigiously researched with such emotional power I lost myself into their interior lives. Perhaps being a former nurse, it swept me with incredible force. One of the stories left me short during the conclusion of this novel, but that doesn't stop me from heartily recommending this book for those who don't mind the nitty gritty of war.

  • Teddy
    Jan 26, 2017

    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 sm

    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. WWII fiction at it's finest!

  • The Lit Bitch
    Jan 20, 2017

    2017 has started off as a very good year for me when it comes to reading choices! This book, THE FIRE BY NIGHT, sounded so full of potential and interesting that I couldn’t pass it up.

    This was story of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival and one that will likely stay with readers long after they are finished.

    I was surprised at how easy it was to like the main characters. I worried I would like one more than the other but I found myself equally captivated by each one and invested in each o

    2017 has started off as a very good year for me when it comes to reading choices! This book, THE FIRE BY NIGHT, sounded so full of potential and interesting that I couldn’t pass it up.

    This was story of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival and one that will likely stay with readers long after they are finished.

    I was surprised at how easy it was to like the main characters. I worried I would like one more than the other but I found myself equally captivated by each one and invested in each of their stories. One of the things that drew me to this book was the fact that both women were war time nurses. I did my master’s thesis on women in Civil War nursing so war time nurses and their stories always hold a place in my heart. So when this one came across my desk for review, I was more than happy to review it.

    This book is Messineo’s debut novel and it’s an impressive first novel. Not only was the content well researched, but the emotion on each page was so well done and beautiful. The reader will find it hard to not become invested in the characters and their stories. One thing that I thought set this novel apart from some of the other books I’ve read about women in WWII was that it focused on some of the ‘real issues’ that are sometimes left out of the female narrative, like shell shock and PTSD. I think it’s important to remember that soldiers weren’t the only ones suffering from PTSD, but the women, such as nurses on the front lines, were just as susceptible.

    Messineo did a great job at showing the emotional side effects of war when it came to the characters and I applaud her for her ability to solicit such an emotional reaction from her readers.

    I will say that I liked this book more than I expected to. I guess I expected something a little less intense but when I started the book I was drawn in by the story and before I knew it, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a beautifully written novel and sure to please readers who love war time stories about friendship, perseverance, and survival.

  • Tina
    Jan 26, 2017

    Stories about nurses serving during war time has always been an interest to me. This book was very well researched and I can say, I would anything else by this author.

    This fictionalized account of two nurses, Jo and Kay, was very detailed and realistic. As they wanted adventure in their lives and the war was on, they joined the service hoping to be stationed together. The book is split in two narratives, going back and forth between Jo’s experience in the Europe and Kay in Hawaii and Japan.

    Both

    Stories about nurses serving during war time has always been an interest to me. This book was very well researched and I can say, I would anything else by this author.

    This fictionalized account of two nurses, Jo and Kay, was very detailed and realistic. As they wanted adventure in their lives and the war was on, they joined the service hoping to be stationed together. The book is split in two narratives, going back and forth between Jo’s experience in the Europe and Kay in Hawaii and Japan.

    Both stories were fascinating, gritty and real. Kay’s story is very sad and I wouldn’t have had the stamina or willpower to stay alive in an internment camp. Truly, I would have just done something crazy so the Japanese guards would kill me outright and end my misery. Jo was stationed in Europe and ended up separated from her hospital and fellow nurses and doctors. She was left with 6 patients who could not be moved, the battle lines and fighting going on all around her. This story is about women who go above and beyond with their determination, their dedication to nursing and the harsh conditions they enduring without giving up.

    The aftermath of these experiences are also detailed as the women try and adjust to nursing in peacetime.

  • Harpercollins Canada
    Jan 30, 2017

    Part historical fiction, part romance, all parts enchanting: The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo tells the stories of World War II nurses and best friends Jo McMahon and Kay Elliot.

    Jo is stationed in France and determined to keep her patients alive in their makeshift, supply-barren medical tent. She is the last woman standing after an explosion takes the lives of her fellow nurses and doctors. With hardly enough food for one person, Jo divides the rations to serve six wounded officers plus hers

    Part historical fiction, part romance, all parts enchanting: The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo tells the stories of World War II nurses and best friends Jo McMahon and Kay Elliot.

    Jo is stationed in France and determined to keep her patients alive in their makeshift, supply-barren medical tent. She is the last woman standing after an explosion takes the lives of her fellow nurses and doctors. With hardly enough food for one person, Jo divides the rations to serve six wounded officers plus herself – if there’s anything left.

    Meanwhile, Kay is trapped underground as a POW in a Japanese internment camp missing the days of her posting in Hawaii. It was there that she fell in love with the man of her dreams, and it was there that she lost everything. Her short-lived happiness was taken from her in an instant, and now she must fight for her life. Whether or not she wants to live is another story, judging by the vials of morphine she and the other nurses are hoarding in secret.