REVIEW: Aiding the Enemy by Julie Rowe
German-occupied Brussels, Belgium
Rose Culver is in grave danger. For months the Red Cross head nurse has been aiding Allied soldiers caught behind enemy lines, helping them flee into neutral Netherlands. It’s only a matter of time until she’s caught. Which makes it the wrong time to fall in love with a handsome German military doctor as devoted to the sanctity of human life as she is.
The Great War has caused Dr. Herman Geoff to question everything he once believed. He knows Rose has been hiding British soldiers in her hospital—he’s even treated some of them, refusing to go against his own Hippocratic oath. As a doctor, he admires Rose’s skill and conviction. As a man, he can no longer deny his attraction to her. But when Rose is arrested for treason, Herman must choose between love for her and duty to his country…
Dear Ms. Rowe,
I read and was disappointed by the first novella in this trilogy last year. Despite the WWI setting in Belgium, it relied on far too many clichés for my liking. I didn’t make much effort to seek out the next story but when I saw this one listed at Netgalley and realized the hero would be the German doctor who appeared briefly in the first book along with the heroic English nursing matron, I decided to give it a go.
This one worked much better – so much better – for me. Since it is a novella, the fact that Herman and Rose have worked together, side by side, through the difficulties of running a hospital treating war casualties helps me believe in a quicker than usual declaration of love. But poor Herman had his work cut out for him in getting Rose to even consider marrying him much less telling him she loved him.
Rose has finally been arrested by the German military and charged with aiding the enemy. Herman had known all about it but winked and nodded and pretended to see nothing. But now that the woman he’s openly admired and – in turns out – secretly loved since he met her has been sentenced to death. He had already questioned the actions of the German military but this action, coupled with the drafting of his younger brother into the army, seals his determination to help Rose.
By a believable escape, he gets her free and then convinces her that marriage is the only way to hide from the military police searching for her. I was very impressed that both of these events make sense and don’t come off as contrived for the plot. Rose resists saying “I do” but it’s not because she’s holding out for “twue lurve” or any of the usual rot we see in romances. No, she admires Herman and doesn’t want to see him potentially throw away his career or become hunted by the police either. She also doesn’t want to see his family suffer because of him aiding her. Again, this actually makes sense to me.
But wait! There’s more. A dash for freedom during which Rose’s quick thinking and actions save the day and then a choice both make that allows them to continue helping those in need and not end up in a country where either would be arrested. I will admit to going into the novella with a “wait and see” attitude but by the end I was happily convinced that all ended well. Well done. B