Call the Nurse – by Mary J. MacLeod – independent book review – Non-fiction

Here’s my pithy description: Think PBS’s CALL THE MIDWIFE, but rather than urban London, CALL THE NURSE takes place on the remote islands of the Hebrides, off Scotland’s west coast. Awarded three stars on Goodreads. The book’s subtitle, as you can see in the book cover, is “True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle” and it’s the first of a three-book series, The Country Nurse Series.

After a lovely vacation in the Scottish Hebrides, Mary MacLeod, her husband George, and two sons give up the busy pace of London life to move to the islands — eager for a life of greater simplicity, in a place with great natural beauty. They certainly get the beauty, but not necessarily the simplicity. Because Mary is the island nurse. And as such, is expected to deliver all sorts of medical care to island dwellers, at all hours of the day and night.

The book is a memoir, recounting anecdotes Mary relates from her role of nurse-caregiver-neighbor-wife-mother. Needless to say, when you live in a remote place, where access to emergency medical treatment often requires a dangerous ride on rough seas or a helicopter rescue, there can be lots of drama. Like a dangerous nighttime heather fire, an unexploded World War II bomb, and a perilous rescue by boat. Even a couple of gruesome surprises.

The Inner and Outer Hebrides
Image from Wikipedia

Some of Mary’s stories are funny, some sad, a few a matter of life and death. But taken together, they give you a feel for both her life and this community of people, their difficult lives in a harsh environment, and the beauty of their commitment to watching out for one another.

Mary J. MacLeod
Image from Joldersma & Klein

If that sounds good to you, enjoy! I’m glad I read this book. Even though my level of interest fluctuated. So, I’m unlikely to pick up any of the sequels in Mary J. MacLeod’s The Country Nurse series.

More about the author, Mary J. MacLeod (1942-2020).

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