Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ann Porter, Nurse

Betty Baxter Anderson, il. Roberta Paflin
1942, Cupples & Leon Company

"Miss Porter, why are you entering nursing?"
Ann was prepared for the question, but it had come abruptly. She was determined not to falter. "At this time particularly," she said slowly and thoughtfully, "I think women should be of some value to the world. I don't want to be worthless. Trite as it sounds, I want to do my bit."

The time is 1942, during the Second World War, but Ann's comment has a more personal side. Yes, there is a desperate need for nurses both overseas and at home, but she has a more personal, secret reason for wanting to be of value. The chic, beautiful brunette startles her new friends at the nursing Training School with her wardrobe, her awkwardness with household chores, and her secrecy, but she's friendly and quickly forms good relations with sporty Texan Marge Nelson, shy Carol Kane, and handsome intern Robert Coran. She also forms a nasty enmity with scheming redhead Lita Wilson, who also wants Robert, and who quickly realizes Ann has something to hide.

Ann and Marge find an abandoned baby on the hospital doorstep, and take an interest in his fate as he's taken in and operated on for a clubbed foot. Junior, as the infant is dubbed, provides a link between Ann and Dr. Coran, a link encouraged by everyone but Lita and the strict no nurse/intern fraternization rules.

An interesting story with good pace and appealing characters. The writing is better than many series books, without being exceptional. Most notable lacks are very little sense of place, and some stilted dialogue. The mystery of who Ann is, and why she is hiding her identity, is fairly engrossing, but while the revelation is satisfactory, the wrap-up is not. One unique item is the mention of the Amana colonies near the nursing school, and the girls' visit there. And Anderson has a very nice talent for making domestic scenes warm and desirable. For example:

The thoughtful Winchesters had lit a fire in the little iron stove in the warming shack and left a plate of sandwiches and a thermos of hot coffee. "There's enough food for a half dozen," Ann thought. "It was certainly sweet of them."

About the author
An Iowa native who later moved to California. Anderson wrote twenty books for children and teens.

Other books by Author
Peggy Wayne: Sky Girl 1941
Connie Benton, Reporter 1941
Nancy Blake, Copywriter 1942
Julie Brent Of The WAAC 1943
Four Girls And A Radio 1944
Holly Saunders, Designer 1947

Children's Books
Secret Of The Old Books 1952
Curtain Call For Connie 1953
Adventures In 4H 1938
Alabama Raider 1957
Powder Monkey 1962