Under the Cover of Mercy by Rebecca Connolly

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Book Review of Under the Cover of Mercy by Rebecca Connolly

I’ve read a lot of World War II books, but I haven’t read as many books about World War I. I was excited when I learned that this book focuses on WWI because I hope to learn more about it. Under the Cover of Mercy by Rebecca Connolly tells the story of Edith Cavell and her teaching hospital when Germany invaded Belgium during the First World War. Wow! May I just say that we need more people with Edith’s conviction, care, and courage in the world today. She inspires me to do better and be better.


Can one nurse on a mission of mercy and rebellion turn the tide of WWI?

November 1914

The Great War has come to Brussels, and Edith Cavell, Head Nurse at Berkendael Medical Institute, faces an impossible situation. She has sworn an oath to help any who are wounded, under whatever flag they are found. But Governor von Lüttwitz, the ranking German officer, has ordered her and her nurses to also stand guard over the wounded Allied prisoners of war and prevent them from escaping.

Edith feels that God called her to be a healer, not a jailer. How can she heal these broken boys, only to see them returned to the hands of their oppressors to be beaten again?

So when members of the Belgian resistance, desperate for help, bring two wounded British soldiers to her hospital in secret, she decides she will heal the soldiers, and then help smuggle them out of the hospital to freedom.

With her loyal friend and fellow nurse, Lizzie, by her side, Edith establishes her hospital as a safe house for the resistance, laboring tirelessly to save as many soldiers as she can. Working under the watchful eyes of the German army, Edith faces challenging odds as she fights to bring hope to her small corner of a war-torn world.

Based on a true story, Under the Cover of Mercy is the remarkable account of one woman who defied an entire nation in order to heal those who needed her help the most.

My Book Review:

What an amazing story! Thank you, Rebecca Connolly for bringing this story to light and life. As I previously stated, I have read a lot and learned a lot about World War II. Sadly, I know very little about World War I. That probably needs to change! Reading about Edith Cavell has inspired me to learn more about this time in history.

If you’re like me and haven’t learned much about WWI, Under the Cover of Mercy is a great place to start! I loved Ms. Connolly’s writing style in this book. It’s told from the point of view of Edith Cavell and her friend Lizzie, who works with Edith. Both points of view are told well. Each woman has her own unique voice and style. The story easily transitions between the two vantage points and does not leave the reader confused.

Another feature of Ms. Connolly’s writing that I enjoyed were her descriptions of the people, places, and events that occurred. They each felt so lifelike, and I felt as if I were right there. One of my favorite things about reading is when I am transported to different places and experiences. When my current life, problems, and stresses all go away and I’m living in another land, another place, and another time. I’m a part of the story. Under the Cover of Mercy transported me to Belgium in 1914, and I loved being there.

The characters make this story even better. Feeling the hatred and arrogance of Governor von Lüttwitz, the loyalty and friendship of Lizzie, and the gratefulness of each of the soldiers cared for brought the story to life. Each of the characters is well developed, unique, authentic, and real.

What would I do if I were in this situation? Would I have the courage to do what Edith and Lizzie did? I hope so!!! However, I’m such a rule follower that I worry I’d be too scared. In my heart of hearts I truly hope that I would have the courage and conviction that Edith did to do the right thing, even though it was difficult. I love it when books make me think and ask questions of myself. This is one of the ways we grow into better and stronger people—we recognize our faults and move to fix them. Edith helped me do this, even though she’s not here today.

I love that many of the people, places, and events in Under the Cover of Mercy are based on true people and events. It’s an honor to have met such an amazing woman and to have learned from her and her experiences. I loved this book and highly recommend it!


Content Rating PG-13

Content Rating: PG-13

  • Profanity: None
  • Intimacy: None
  • Violence: Moderate (War injuries and the death of several characters.)

Age Recommendation: YA (13-18) and up


My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.




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