Author Catherine Butcher
Publisher Monarch £8.99
ISBN 978085721671 2015
The sub-title tells all: faith before the firing squad – and that is where the first chapter takes us: a graphic description of the last hours of a
nurse who had saved the lives of over 200 Allied troops but who had confessed to the crime of helping to conduct those soldiers to safety and, of course, to a chance to return to battle against the Germans. Catherine Butcher’s biography of Edith Cavell is detailed, with a strong emphasis on her faith. Child of the vicarage, she was brought up with daily services from the Book of Common Prayer, often quoted. Later, she trained as a nurse working in England, and then in Belgium where she became matron of a training school. Here the focus is more on her humanitarian and brave approach, especially towards soldiers whom she helped; their stories and the danger involved add a tension to the work. Readers will find the book of interest but may find the explanations, such as that about confirmation, frustratingly simple.