97 books like Fatal Decision

By Terri Arthur,

Here are 97 books that Fatal Decision fans have personally recommended if you like Fatal Decision. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Regeneration

Julie Anderson Author Of The Midnight Man

From my list on evocative stories set in a hospital.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical crime fiction, and my latest novel is set in a hospital, a real place, now closed. The South London Hospital for Women and Children (1912–1985) was set up by pioneering suffragists and women surgeons Maud Chadburn and Eleanor Davies-Colley (the first woman admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons) and I recreate the now almost-forgotten hospital in my book. Events take place in 1946 when wartime trauma still impacts upon a society exhausted by conflict, and my book choices also reflect this.

Julie's book list on evocative stories set in a hospital

Julie Anderson Why did Julie love this book?

I loved this book for its humanity and compassion, as well as its consideration of the impact of war on the individual combatants and those who choose to try and heal them.

Another wartime novel, this time World War One, it is set in Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, a real place, with many real, historical characters. Its central relationship is between the poet Siegried Sassoon and his psychiatrist, W. H. R Rivers, a British neurologist who experimented with treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Sassoon’s publicly stated reservations about war echo those of Rivers, who struggles with healing patients only to send them back to the front.

It raises questions about masculinity and manliness, honour and truth, and does so without seeming doctrinaire or didactic. It shows a society, as well as individuals, traumatized by war. I will read it and the subsequent novels in the trilogy again.

By Pat Barker,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Regeneration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Calls to mind such early moderns as Hemingway and Fitzgerald...Some of the most powerful antiwar literature in modern English fiction."-The Boston Globe

The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy-a Booker Prize nominee and one of Entertainment Weekly's 100 All-Time Greatest Novels.

In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back…


Book cover of The Daughters of Mars

Joanna Higgins Author Of In the Fall They Leave

From my list on WWI Angels of Mercy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’m neither a healthcare professional nor a historian, my passions are reading great fiction and continually striving to write it. Degrees in literature led to college teaching and then full-time writing. And that, to the publication of six works of fiction, including four historical novels. So, add to the mix, then, the years spent studying and teaching literature as well as those spent writing and rewriting—and, too, being an inveterate reader—and you have, in brief, the sum of my expertise. Each of the works listed below, I feel, has super qualities. I certainly enjoyed reading such masterful work and hope you will as well.   

Joanna's book list on WWI Angels of Mercy

Joanna Higgins Why did Joanna love this book?

As a writer, I found so much to admire in The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally. Simply put, it’s epic. I was blown away by Kenneally’s Tolstoian precision of narrative and by the drama of two sisters who leave their confined lives in Australia and serve as nurses in WWI, first on a hospital ship in the Mediterranean and then on the Western Front. Keneally recreates a full sense of the times, showing how individuals can become enmeshed and shaped by huge historical events. The sisters confront not only the terrible effects of war but also a secret that haunts them. This is a stunning, multi-layered novel by a master, The Daughters of Mars has earned numerous accolades—and no wonder. It’s beautifully written and deeply affecting.  

By Thomas Keneally,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Daughters of Mars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1915, two spirited Australian sisters join the war effort as nurses, escaping the confines of their father's dairy farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Used to tending the sick as they are, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first in the Dardanelles, then on the Western Front. Yet they find courage in the face of extreme danger and become the friends they never were before. And eventually they meet the kind of men worth giving up their precious independence for - if only they all survive.

At once epic in scope and extraordinarily intimate,…


Book cover of The Winter Soldier

Henry Rozycki Author Of Walk the Earth as Brothers

From my list on novels that describe what war does to young men.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the child of Holocaust survivors who chose not to talk about it. The effects were clear and stark – my mother crying out with nightmares, my father doing everything in his power not to be noticed by authorities – but I was not allowed to know their sources. Though my lottery number was 76, I missed going to Vietnam by a year as the draft ended; I watched so many of my peers come back either damaged or at least profoundly changed. I never wish I experienced war in all its hellaciousness, but from early adolescence, I have wondered how I would have acted.

Henry's book list on novels that describe what war does to young men

Henry Rozycki Why did Henry love this book?

Mason is a beautiful writer. It felt like each sentence was deliberated over before its final form was inscribed. But I think I connected with the book because, like the main character, I was a physician. I never had to confront whether what I learned in the lecture hall and anatomy lab was useless or meaningless, and therefore, I never had to question everything.

That’s what Lucius must do, and it gave me the opportunity to approach such questions within my own life. Are my medical gods real, worthy, or false because they can only exist in the most advantageous circumstances? What can we believe in when circumstances like war strip it down to the core?

By Daniel Mason,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Winter Soldier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The epic story of war and medicine from the award-winning author of The Piano Tuner is "a dream of a novel...part mystery, part war story, part romance" (Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See). 

Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have…


Book cover of A Light Beyond the Trenches

Joanna Higgins Author Of In the Fall They Leave

From my list on WWI Angels of Mercy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I’m neither a healthcare professional nor a historian, my passions are reading great fiction and continually striving to write it. Degrees in literature led to college teaching and then full-time writing. And that, to the publication of six works of fiction, including four historical novels. So, add to the mix, then, the years spent studying and teaching literature as well as those spent writing and rewriting—and, too, being an inveterate reader—and you have, in brief, the sum of my expertise. Each of the works listed below, I feel, has super qualities. I certainly enjoyed reading such masterful work and hope you will as well.   

Joanna's book list on WWI Angels of Mercy

Joanna Higgins Why did Joanna love this book?

Can angels of mercy be four-footed? Yes! Alan Hlad’s A Light Beyond the Trenches tells the story of a fictional German Red Cross nurse, Anna, who is given the task of caring for a German Shepherd ambulance dog with injured paws. Soon, observing how German Shepherds can help blinded and emotionally traumatized veterans, Anna hopes to become a trainer of seeing-eye dogs herself. A Light Beyond the Trenches effortlessly incorporates research on chemical warfare as well as on the first institute for guide dogs. I found this novel to be a compelling read about WWI nursing heroes from quite a different perspective. Young adult readers, too, might enjoy this novel.

By Alan Hlad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Light Beyond the Trenches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the USA Today bestselling author of Churchill’s Secret Messenger comes a WWI novel based on little-known history, as four very different lives intertwine across Europe from Germany to France—a German Red Cross nurse, a Jewish pianist blinded on the battlefield, a soldier tortured by deadly secrets of his own, and his tormented French mistress. This life-affirming tale of heroism and resilience will stay with you long after turning the final page.

By April 1916, the fervor that accompanied war’s outbreak has faded. In its place is a grim reality. Throughout Germany, essentials are rationed. Hope, too, is in short…


Book cover of Sisters of the Great War

Connie Hertzberg Mayo Author Of The Sharp Edge of Mercy

From my list on historical fiction with rockstar nurses.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mother went back to school for her PhD in Anatomy when I was a pre-teen. During the summers of my high school years I worked with her in her lab, and let me tell you, you see your mother in a new light when you see her dissect a rat. Though I didn’t go into medicine, anyone raised in our household learned an impressive amount of biology just sitting around the dinner table. Consequently, I’ve always loved fiction with a medical bent. My mother was also the one to introduce me to historical fiction, so perhaps I was fated to write a historical novel with a nurse protagonist.

Connie's book list on historical fiction with rockstar nurses

Connie Hertzberg Mayo Why did Connie love this book?

Two sisters from Baltimore volunteer for WWI, one as a nurse, one as an ambulance driver. Though this isn’t a romance, each find love amid the gruesome reality of war – one with a doctor, one with another (female) ambulance driver. The sheer number of amputations will leave your head spinning.

By Suzanne Feldman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sisters of the Great War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspired by real women, this powerful novel tells the story of two unconventional American sisters who volunteer at the front during World War I

August 1914. While Europe enters a brutal conflict unlike any waged before, the Duncan household in Baltimore, Maryland, is the setting for a different struggle. Ruth and Elise Duncan long to escape the roles that society, and their controlling father, demand they play. Together, the sisters volunteer for the war effort—Ruth as a nurse, Elise as a driver.

Stationed at a makeshift hospital in Ypres, Belgium, Ruth soon confronts war’s harshest lesson: not everyone can be…


Book cover of Between the Lines: Diaries and Letters from Elsie Inglis's Russian Unit

Wendy Moore Author Of No Man's Land: The Trailblazing Women Who Ran Britain's Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I

From my list on women’s experiences in WW1.

Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Moore is a journalist and author of five non-fiction books on medical and social history. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, Times, Observer and Lancet. Her new book is about Endell Street Military Hospital which was run and staffed by women in London in the First World War.

Wendy's book list on women’s experiences in WW1

Wendy Moore Why did Wendy love this book?

History is just “one damned thing after another” is a common phrase. For me this is the book which has led me to my next project. Cahill traces the story of the women who went to Russia in 1916 with the voluntary outfit the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Set up by a Scottish surgeon, Elsie Inglis, the SWH became the biggest women’s medical organisation serving abroad in the war. The SWH women ran hospitals in France, Serbia and Russia. Here Cahill tells the story of their astonishing adventures in Russia – driving ambulances close to the firing line, retreating with the Serbian and Russian armies, surviving the cold, food shortages and the Russian Revolution – through the women’s own words. It’s staggering stuff – and great material for my next book about one of those incredible women pioneers.

By Audrey Fawcett Cahill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Between the Lines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shipped from UK, please allow 10 to 21 business days for arrival. First Published by PENTLAND, EDINBURGH, 1999 BETWEEN THE LINES: Letters and Diaries from Elsie Inglis's Russian Unit. Arranged and edited by Audrey Fawcett Cahill. 372 p., ill., maps A very good, near fine soft-cover copy.


Book cover of Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam

Robert J. Begiebing Author Of The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin

From my list on British and American historical fiction, 1850-1960.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of ten books, including fiction, memoir, collected journalism, and criticism. My novels are historical fiction, hence my decision to make my recommendations within that genre, mostly. My own historical novels comprise a tetralogy beginning with The Strange Death of Mistress Coffin and ending with The Turner Erotica, so the series takes the reader roughly from 1648 to 1900. The second book chronologically in the series, Rebecca Wentworth’s Distraction, won the 2003 Langum Prize for historical fiction. Retired now, I was the founding director of the MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction at Southern New Hampshire University.

Robert's book list on British and American historical fiction, 1850-1960

Robert J. Begiebing Why did Robert love this book?

I’m going to jump historical genres slightly and recommend Lynda Van Devanter’s Vietnam memoir which reads like historical fiction and is every bit as engaging as the great novels and memoirs of the Vietnam War written by such men as Robert Stone, Larry Heinemann, Michael Herr, Tim O’Brien, Philip Caputo, and Karl Marlantes. As an Army nurse, Devanter gave it her all to save others. This book is her effort to learn to live with what she witnessed in Vietnam, to get the truth down as honestly as she can by using all the narrative techniques of the novelist. Of the great books written about that horrific time in our country’s (and Vietnam’s) history, this one grabbed me from start to finish like no other. A powerful voice is telling us what we too readily forget now—that war is a criminal activity, no matter how justified or how much the…

By Lynda Van Devanter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Home Before Morning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lynda Van Devanter was the girl next door, the cheerleader who went to Catholic schools, enjoyed sports, and got along well with her four sisters and parents. After high school she attended nursing school and then did something that would shatter her secure world for the rest of her life: in 1969, she joined the army and was shipped to Vietnam. When she arrived in Vietnam her idealistic view of the war vanished quickly. She worked long and arduous hours in cramped, ill-equipped, understaffed operating rooms. She saw friends die. Witnessing a war close-up, operating on soldiers and civilians whose…


Book cover of The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier

Julian Sher Author Of The North Star: Canada and the Civil War Plots Against Lincoln

From my list on Civil War plots against Lincoln from Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been an investigative journalist for four decades and the author of eight books. From covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to biker gangs or online child predators, I have always tried to encourage people to question their assumptions and popular beliefs. When I was a history student at McGill University in Montreal, I came across a plaque to Jefferson Davis, the leader of the slave South, on the walls of one of our major department stores. Why were we honoring the Confederates more than a century after the Civil War? That quest led me to dig into the myths about the Civil War and the fight against slavery.

Julian's book list on Civil War plots against Lincoln from Canada

Julian Sher Why did Julian love this book?

I am always fascinated by the life-changing choices people make during crucial turning points in history. How certain are you that–depending on where you were born and what race, class, or gender you were–that you would have sided with Lincoln against slavery?

Emma Edmonds was a feisty New Brunswick farm girl who rebels against the 19th-century restrictions against women by disguising herself as a man to become a very successful bible salesman. She finds herself in the US when the Civil War breaks out, and even though it is not her country or her cause, she decides to enlist (as a man!) in the Union Army. Gansler does an excellent job of capturing Edmonds’ conflicted emotions, turmoil and troubles as she tries to hide her identity for two years wearing a man’s uniform. She also navigates the difficult exaggerations and lies around Edmonds’ story. A serious yet exciting read. 

By Laura Leedy Gansler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mysterious Private Thompson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Resurrecting a lost hero of the Civil War, The Mysterious Private Thompson tells the remarkable story of Sarah Emma Edmonds (1841-98), who disguised herself as a man and defended her country at a time of war. Drawing on Edmonds's journals and those of the men she served with, Laura Leedy Gansler recreates Edmonds's experience in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, including both the First and the Second Battle of Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, and the Battle of Fredericksburg, during which she served with distinction in combat as a "male" nurse and braved enemy fire as…


Book cover of A Duty to the Dead

Eleanor Kuhns Author Of Murder on Principle

From my list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love the mysteriousness of the past. Learning dates or the importance of battles does not yield understanding. Skillfully written historical fiction can make a reader live history—in a twelfth-century abbey or nursing in WWI. The characters I find the most gripping are outsiders: a Black man always in danger of capture and slavery, and investigating the murders of the marginalized; a monk, once a crusader, who sees human frailties clearly; or a Victorian lady, restless under the constraints of her time, who marries beneath her. Why murder mysteries? Because, although murder is forbidden in almost every culture and every religion, we still kill each other. 

Eleanor's book list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary

Eleanor Kuhns Why did Eleanor love this book?

Bess Crawford is a nurse during WWI. While tending a wounded soldier, she promises him she’ll deliver a message to his brother back in England. Several months later, wounded herself and on leave, Bess takes a trip to the soldier’s village. But his brother is indifferent to the message and in fact seems indifferent to his brother’s death. Bess realizes she’s stepped into a hornet’s nest of old secrets. The setting is so well described I felt like I was there, in the middle of World War I and in danger from the secrets someone will kill to protect. I finished it in two sittings, unable to sleep until I knew what happened.

By Charles Todd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Duty to the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Another winner....Todd again excels at vivid atmosphere and the effects of war in this specific time and place. Grade: A.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

“Readers who can’t get enough of Maisie Dobbs, the intrepid World War I battlefield nurse in Jacqueline Winspear’s novels…are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”
—New York Times Book Review

 

Charles Todd, author of the resoundingly acclaimed Ian Rutledge crime novels (“One of the best historical series being written today” —Washington Post Book World) debuts an exceptional new protagonist, World War I nurse Bess Crawford, in A Duty to the Dead. A…


Book cover of We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

This is the story of 99 Army and Navy nurses who I consider the first U.S. women to serve in combat.

The women endured four months of harrowing bombings, dwindling supplies, and disease as they tended to U.S. casualties from the Japanese invasion of The Philippines in the early days of WWII.

After U.S. forces surrendered, 77 of the nurses were interred in civilian camps in the Philippines until February 1945. The women continued to work as nurses while enduring starvation diets and disease.

Part of my fascination with this story of strength and courage also lies with the fact that one of my great uncles was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. I like to think that my uncle encountered one of these wonderful women at some point.

By Elizabeth M. Norman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Band of Angels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a gardenia-scented paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. War was a distant rumor, life a routine of easy shifts and dinners under the stars. On December 8 all that changed, as Japanese bombs began raining down on American bases in Luzon, and this paradise became a fiery hell. Caught in the raging battle, the nurses set up field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan and the tunnels of Corregidor, where they tended to the most devastating injuries of war, and suffered the terrors of shells and shrapnel.
 
But…


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