Katie Flynn Orphans of the Storm

ISBN 13: 9780099486985

Orphans of the Storm

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9780099486985: Orphans of the Storm

Another absorbing story from this bestselling writer of Liverpool dramas, this time the story of two families — one in Liverpool, the other in the Australian outback — and how their lives converge and are torn apart.
From the Hardcover edition.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Katie Flynn was inspired to write her Liverpool series after hearing the reminiscences of family members. She also writes as Judith Saxton.
From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

November 1918

Nancy Kerris bent over the young man in the bed and put gentle fingers round his wrist. Odd to feel such a tiny flutter in such a strong brown arm -- odd to see that his lips were purplish blue and that the tanned face looked suddenly yellow -- almost as yellow as his hair. For one heart-stopping moment she did not know what to do; then previous experience, and her training, told her that she must get help -- and quickly. She knew the patient had been badly wounded only a matter of a day or so before the Armistice had been signed and now, with a jolt of horror, she realised he was almost certainly haemorrhaging internally. But the gasp which rose to her lips never left them; if you panicked a patient, Sister Saunders said, he could die from fear. No, what she must do was get help and get it quickly.

She laid his hand down on the bed covers and smiled reassuringly into the bloodless face. 'You'll be fine, soldier, but I think maybe your bandage is loosening,' she said, in her most matter-of-fact voice. 'I'll just fetch Dr Amis . . .'

Nancy moved away from the bed, walking with a gliding, rapid step, which was the next best thing to a run, because Sister did not approve of her nurses running, or not on the wards at any rate. 'If you need help urgently,' she told her staff, 'then run as fast as you like along the corridors but not on the wards themselves; is that understood?'

So now Nancy went out of the tent flap -- this was a makeshift emergency hospital from which the wounded men would presently be transferred to proper hospitals in England -- and, as soon as she was out of sight of the patients, broke into a fast run. A nurse coming towards her turned in her tracks to accompany her, saying as she did so: 'What's up, Nancy? Can I help?'

It was Jess Williams, her best friend, and Nancy spoke rapidly. 'Tent three, fourth bed from the door, haemorrhaging. I'm going to get a doctor; can you lay up a trolley, fetch instruments and so on?'

She did not wait for a reply, knowing Jess was both skilful and competent, but ran on, hearing her friend's hasty footsteps fading in the opposite direction. Seconds later, she was explaining the problem to Dr Amis and turning to accompany him back to the tent she had just left. Obedient to the strictures laid upon them, both doctor and nurse eased their pace to a steady walk as they entered the ward. Already it was clear that Jess had found a blood match between the patient and the young man in the next bed, and had obtained the necessary equipment to do a transfusion. Dr Amis nodded to Jess and spoke softly to the would-be donor, explaining the procedure he was about to carry out, and the young man nodded. Before Dr Amis could ask, Nancy had leaned across the trolley and handed him the appropriate scalpel, then watched as the doctor inserted the tube into the dying man's wrist. Only after that was satisfactorily in place did he make the long incision in the donor's arm. The boy went white but he grinned at Nancy, then switched his gaze to the tubing through which his blood had begun to run steadily into the pint bottle Jess was holding up. Nancy knew that the bottle contained a measured amount of sodium citrate solution to stop the blood from clotting and saw Jess giving the bottle a little shake every few minutes as the blood ran down the other length of tubing into the patient's arm. The donor lay with his forearm supported on a board, and the doctor gently reminded him to keep opening and closing his fist on the piece of rolled-up bandage in his hand in order to facilitate the blood flow.

The young man nodded. Nancy averted her fascinated gaze from the five-inch slit the doctor had cut in his arm and smoothed the damp hair from his forehead. He was only a boy, probably no more than seventeen or eighteen, yet he had volunteered to help another man without a second's hesitation. As she watched, he turned his eyes up towards her and gave her a beaming smile. 'Look at the feller's face,' he whispered. 'He were yellowy-grey two minutes ago, and to tell you the truth I thought he were a goner. But as soon as the blood started to flow, his colour began to come back. Ain't blood a wonderful thing, nurse?'

Nancy, agreeing that it was, caught Jess's eye and they exchanged smiles. To save a life is always sweet and both girls knew that their prompt action had probably done so on this occasion.

Presently the pair were dismissed and made their way towards their sleeping quarters. They were extremely tired, having just worked a double shift, and Nancy guessed that Jess, too, longed to get what rest they could before they went back on duty. Despite her tiredness, however, Nancy could not help remembering that other young man, the one to whom she had been engaged to be married. He had died two years previously, when transfusing blood had been in its infancy; died in her arms, because no one had realised -- until too late -- that he, too, was haemorrhaging internally from a bayonet wound. She, who had loved Graham Peters to distraction, had knelt on the floor by his bed and held him in her arms whilst his life ebbed slowly away. He had looked up at her wonderingly out of tired blue eyes and she knew she would never forget his last words. 'You've grown so tiny, my love,' he whispered. 'So tiny that I could hang you on a chain round my neck; then I would have you with me for always.'

Before she could answer him, Graham's head had slumped forward on to his chest and she had felt the faint flutter of his heartbeat simply cease as though it had never been.

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