Book Review: When the World Stood Still
“When the World Stood Still” by Kate Eastham is a riveting story of the 1918 flu pandemic in London, and timely as we battle our own pandemic.
Nurse Emily Burdon is originally from a small village and is now working as a nurse probationer in London, on the front lines of the Spanish flu epidemic. The book gives us a window into the experience of front line workers as well as into Emily’s personal life. In the midst of battling the uncertainty of war and pandemic, she wonders if she can give up nursing for the life she has always dreamed of with her fiancé, away at war. This novel does a wonderful job of showing us the world of St. Marylebone Infirmary in London in 1918 while chronicling Emily’s personal struggles.
Emily is a strong and relatable character, and the struggles of the nurses and doctors on the front lines of the Spanish flu pandemic are both heartbreaking and informative—finding the similarities between that pandemic and the Covid-19 pandemic makes this book hit close to home, but also provides hope, knowing that pandemic eventually faded and the world no longer stood still.
WWII books typically dominate my historical fiction reads, but this book left me wanting to know more about the world of WWI and the Spanish Flu. I really appreciated this book and have found myself thinking about Emily even after I read the last page.
This was a 5 star read for me thanks to the strong, relatable characters, intriguing storyline and timeliness of the subject matter. This was my first book by Kate Eastham and I look forward to reading more from her!
This book publishes on February 22, 2021 and can be preordered on Amazon here.