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November 18 , 2007

Lives We Leave Behind


In July 1915 the hospital ship Maheno leaves Wellington with seventy New Zealand nurses on board. Addie Harrington and Meg Dutton are assigned to the same cabin. Quiet and cautious, Addie is taken aback by her impetuous, fun-loving roommate. The two women seem to have little in common other than a desire to serve their country. But as they care for injured and dying soldiers in Egypt and France, they discover that deep connections can develop under unusual circumstances. When Meg meets British surgeon Wallace Madison, she falls for him immediately and amidst the chaos of overloaded military hospitals they embark on an intense love affair. Addie suspects Wallace has much to hide and fears the relationship will destroy her friend. Maxine Alterio brings a novelist's eye to the startling story of New Zealand's World War I nurses. I was enthralled and moved by the lives of these women and their experiences of war. Laurence Fearnley, award-winning novelist

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