The Fire by Night

The Fire by Night

by Teresa Messineo

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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 Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062459121
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/17/2017
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 2,689
File size: 623 KB

About the Author

Teresa Messineo spent seven years researching the history behind The Fire by Night, her first novel. She is a graduate of DeSales University, and her varied interests include homeschooling her four children, volunteering with the underprivileged, medicine, swing dancing, and competitive athletics. She lives in Reading, Pennsylvania.

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The Fire by Night: A Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story about the amazing women nurses who sacrificed so much for their country is heartbreakingly bittersweet and earthshatteringly realistic. Very nitty gritty and extremely powerful. You can tell the author went to great lengths researching for this book, especially with all the medical jargon. Would definitely recommend for aany other historh buffs like myself or someone who likes to read about the perseverance and strength of women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put the book down. It was great testament to the courage and strength of the WWll nurses caught behind the lines. It was a real eye opener as to how they suffered yet still put their patients first. I never knew they suffered so much. Thank you for telling their story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't stop reading! I felt like I was literally watching Jo and Kay live their stories. Just a wonderful read, I would recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done. Highly recommend!
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
When we think of war survivors you might think of the Holocaust victims or even our war veterans from every war you could imagine, but often we overlook the women who served as nurses during any of the wars, especially WWII. In the debut novel by Teresa Messineo, she highlights the lives of two very important nurses who gave up everything to serve their country in one of the longest wars in history. Spending seven years in research, she wanted the lives of her fictional characters to be believable but also to transport the reader right into the heart of where she placed them. I personally feel, she has done that and more. For Jo McMahon, she would find herself left behind as the surplus trucks pulled out of France taking the supplies, the nurses and most of the wounded men with them as she was instructed to wait behind with six patients for the trucks to return. She would need to do whatever it took to ensure that her patients survived and she managed to accomplish that and more, even when she learned that everyone who evacuated that night all died in a bombing run. No one remained alive. She has been instructed by the captain that she will need to do whatever she can until they can rescued even if it means going without food while their supplies continue to dwindle to nothing. Her only hope is believing that one day the war might end and she might get a chance to leave this muddy, unsanitary hell hole she now calls home and that she will do anything it takes to ensure that all of her sic patients survived against the odds against them. Kay Elliot, was a fellow nurse to Jo and the two worked together until the war separated them. Now a POW living in an internment camp known as Santo Tomas where she doesn't know if she will live another day under the scrutiny of the Japanese soldiers. Little by little she does what she can for the women, children and injured men who occupy the tunnel like existence while dreaming of a time when she found and lost love in Pearl Harbor. She often gave Jo a hard time because of her idyllic paradise setting and how wonderful her life was going. Until December 7th, when everything was suddenly ripped apart and forever changed. She now witnesses the greatest atrocities to mankind as she watches her captors starve them day by day while disease and sanitary conditions claim even more lives. Now Kay wonders if she will ever see her friend Jo again and just who got the better of the two jobs as nurses in the war. I received The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. I am so glad I read this novel and really pushed to get a copy of it. It was perhaps for me, the most realistic novel of what life was life for the American nurses who found themselves serving along the front lines during WWII. You never really considered how difficult life was for them, not only by their fellow male service men, but being killed, injured or taken as a POW during WWII. I found myself relating to the life of Jo McMahon the most and often wondered while reading this, if I too, would have enlisted as a nurse during the war to help where it was most needed. To hold the hand of a dying man knowing somewhere back home, he was a son, a husband, or a brother of someone who would never get the chance to say goodbye to them. While the novel does contain profanity along the lines of the context of the war, it isn't enough to distract you from the novel's purpose and that is t
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book beginning to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings There are many books about World War II so it takes a bit for a book to be unique and interesting and to set itself apart from the pack - this one did. With two storylines that center around woman working in the war as nurses in two different places at the same time. Jo gets stranded in a medical tent with 6 (I think) wounded and must really make do to survive. Kay becomes a POW in a Japanese camp and must not only live the life of a POW but also still serve as a nurse - her story was harder to read.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this novel. The excitement of two best friends experiencing the war from two different locations, made this novel one that I couldn’t put down and one that also frustrated me. Jo and Kay had been best friends back home and now the two friends found themselves far away from one another, taking the oath as nurses, in a war which sometimes did not make any sense. It was the Nurse’s Creed and these two women with the other nurses around them, lived by this oath, as they guarded their patients like soldiers and never left their side, even as bullets were raining down around them. Told in diary format, the year is 1942 and Kay lives her life in a tunnel near Pearl Harbor. With other individuals sent over to care for the sick and dying, Kay cares for her patients inside this tunnel. They live like hermits; their patients are brought to them inside this tunnel and everyone lives in fear. To step outside this tunnel, would be to risk taking your own life as the Japanese patrol this area. Kay and her fellow nurses and doctors are allowed a few minutes outside the tunnel for fresh air but the view outside the tunnel is revolting. Casualties of the Japanese soldiers lay scattered about while small rodents rummage among them. After some time, Kay and her team must move out of the tunnel for they are being relocated. This move is hard for Kay, for she is leaving much more behind than just security and the tears are falling from my face as she leaves. War is hard and for Kay, this is only the beginning. Jo, is as close to the front lines as a field hospital can get. I can feel the urgency and the desperation each time I read Jo’s entries. I feel as if I must be quiet as I read about Jo’s life, otherwise someone might hear me and they might start bombing Jo and her team. I seriously couldn’t get enough of Jo; this woman is amazing. She shows us that she is human, I can feel how scared she is yet this woman is devoted to the Nurse’s Creed 100% and while the war is hitting her unit hard, she’s standing. Jo somehow during all of this, she is finding the words to her childhood song to calm things down. I loved how these two best friends are still in each other thoughts as they are each experiencing their own little hell. This novel was great, I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it. It got my blood pumping and I was sad to see it end.
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