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The Daughters of Mars

by Thomas Keneally

The Daughters of Mars
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2013
    544 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Carol J. (Isle, MN) (07/09/13)

Daughters of Mars
Must admit it took me a few pages to get into this book, but once I was grabbed I enjoyed it completely. It was a very detailed accounting of WWI's casualties and the nurses and doctors who took care of them.
As a nurse who served in the Army, I found this book even more intriguing. The detail was amazing.
The characters were very well developed, so that I felt I knew them well and did not want any harm to come to them. There was always that sense that anything could happen to any of the characters.
And of course the ending was jaw dropping. So frequently the ending of a book is a let down. Definitely not in this book.
I would highly recommend the book. Although one needs to devote plenty of time to read it in all its detail,
Carol P. (Mendham, NJ) (07/03/13)

WWI and the Extraordinary Women who Volunteered
I was always interested to read about WWI and this period in history and this story about two sisters volunteering to be nurses during WWI seemed to be a perfect reading choice.

Sally and Naomi met many other exceptional women as they cared for so many wounded in battle. They also met exceptional men who demonstrated remarkable bravery.

Mr. Keneally is a gifted writer and there were aspects of the story that were very touching- you truly see the horrors of war and yet you also are made aware of the bravery of those who sacrificed their lives. The author also touches on the women of the time and the social mores impacting them.

There were highlights in the book which drew me into the story but I also found I lost track of the characters. Mr. Keneally focused on multiple characters while at the same time moving from Sally to Naomi and at times I had to go back and double check where I had left off. The sisters also shared a secret regarding the death of their mother and it seemed the resolution of this secret lost its focus.

I would recommend this book to those interested in reading about WWI from the perspective of the women and men facing the war from the trenches. There is a beauty in the words of this novel which captures the reader.
Laurie B. (Jacksonville, FL) (06/26/13)

well written but slow
I don't need books to be action packed by any means, but this was a little too plodding for my taste. Despite that, a good and interesting story with good character development, and worth reading. Not for everyone, but if you like fiction with historical background this will probably appeal to you
Mary G. (Purcellville, VA) (06/19/13)

Daughters of Mars is Mesmerizing
I would like to thank BookBrowse for giving me the opportunity to read this exceptional novel. It tells the story of some of the unsung heroines of World War 1: the volunteer nurses. Through the lives of the Durance sisters and the other members of their Australian nurses corps, Keneally does a terrific job of conveying their courage and fortitude in the face of unimaginable horror and privation. The book was absorbing from start to finish, but I have to confess the ending took me completely by surprise and I am still thinking about it--a week after finishing the book. Put this book on your must read list.
Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA) (06/13/13)

Keneally is back!
I love this book. How could I not? A favorite author who has written, besides Schindler's List, a string of novels of life in Australia . . . a favorite setting for fiction, WWI. Think Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy, Sebastien Japrisot's "A Very Long Engagement". Hallelujah!
Dee H. (Greenfield, CA) (06/12/13)

War is Grim
This was a very good book with excellent character development and what I believe was an accurate picture of what went on in the field hospitals of WWI. The view of the war through the eyes of two Australian nurses who are sisters stretches from Egypt, where the sisters deal with the aftermath of the battles at Gallipoli, to France, where the casualties of the Somme relentlessly fill the hospitals. Along the way love and loss find the sisters and bring some variety to the daily struggle to help combatants survive.

I put off finishing this book because I feared that it wasn't going to end well, but I did finish it and I heartily recommend Daughters of Mars to anyone who enjoys historical novels. Be warned that the descriptions of war wounds are pretty graphic, but don't let that dissuade you from reading this great book from a great author.
Marie A. (Warner, NH) (06/05/13)

In The Daughters of Mars, Thomas Keneally aptly provides his readers with the horrors, pain and destruction of war, specifically World War I, on humanity and on the environment. Furthermore, we are privy to the relationship between the Durance sisters, both Australian nurses, and the interactions of the many characters involved with and changed by the circumstances of war.

The end results for many of the characters are not always uplifting thus mirroring the bleakness of war and its effects on those touched by it. Keneally shows the vastness of war as well as the details of it.

Interestingly, Keneally provides alternate endings for the protagonists--a great springboard for discussion among book club members

I enjoyed the novel and highly recommend it to anyone interested in reading a long novel about relationships--both enduring and lost--heroism, and the details and casualties of war.
Peggy H. (North East, PA) (06/05/13)

Long, interesting, but no connection
I wanted to like this book, I really did. It was looong and filled with many interesting details, but I found it strangely impersonal. I never really cared about either of the sisters.

Perhaps it was the writing style in the third person, but I kept reading...and didn't find real motivation for the first rift between the sisters, and didn't find joy and awe in their survival in the ocean.

It makes me want to learn more about WW1 from this theater, but left me a little cold about all the characters.


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