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The Fire by Night

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,990 ratings  ·  497 reviews
'A powerful and gorgeously written debut about two military nurses working on the frontlines of WWII. Jo, raised in the Italian-Irish tenements of New York City, is in France, trapped behind enemy lines in a makeshift medical unit, where she refuses to leave her patients as the Germans advance and bombs fall around them. Jo’s best friend from nursing school is Kay, a small ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 17th 2017)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,990 ratings  ·  497 reviews

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Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4 stars! What an eye-opening, well-researched book! I have read plenty of WWII stories, but this was one gave me a completely fresh perspective.

This story is told from the viewpoints of two military field nurses, Jo and Kay. I learned a lot from this book and have gained so much respect for these women who willingly put their lives at risk in the battlefields to help their soldiers and war effort. Prior to reading this, I had never really thought about all that was involved in these nurses' duti
Diane S ☔
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
World War II, and two young woman, Kay and Jo, feel the need to do more, to sacrifice forma short time their lives in order to help the fighting soldiers, They join the military, attend nursing school, where they bond and become best friends. At the end of training they are hoping to be assigned to the same base but Jo is assigned to the western front while Kay is assigned to the South Pacific. For a while it looks as if Kay has pulled the ideal assignment, beautiful weather, beautiful beaches, ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the moment she had stepped off the gangplank at Pearl Harbor-back when that name had just been a port of call- she had lived with her feet off the ground, in a world set apart. That dream world was now shattered. She found herself dirty, disheveled, dripping with sweat. She was hungry and thirsty so tired that she wanted to lie down in the dirt road and sleep and sleep and never wake up.

Oh 2017, you really are giving readers a beautiful year in debut authors with such outstanding books. It
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
The Fire by Night is a book that really shows the dark side of WW2. The book as two POV, first we have Jo McMahon who is stuck tending six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. She had to do this all alone after bombs destroyed the hospital convoy she would have traveled with and to make it all worse is the unit close to the Germans. Her friend Kay is trapped in a Japanese POW camp in Manila. Both of them have gone through so much and in flashbacks, we get to see what happened ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

"Oh Teresa Messineo you are killing me! Parts of this book are so mesmerizingly compelling and while other segments read like a Hallmark Channel romance ... I love Jo and Kay but I am so mixed and torn about how you delivered them to me. "
-Bill Westerlind, member of Goodreads and Free Bird Readers and amateur book reviewer

I received an ARC copy of this book from the Westfield Athenaeum and as much as I wanted to love it, I just didn't! I liked it very much but love … not quite. The fie
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

When a command comes to fall back, it takes an infantryman less than ten seconds to simply turn around – and run. But not military nurses, whose only creed, whose one, unbreakable rule, is never to leave their patients. Never.

Jo looked at Captain Clark now as he came up to her, hands on hips, spitting before he spoke, and realized how much the movies had conditioned her, had prejudiced her. She’d believed that all U.S. soldiers in perilous positions would be just as truthful, up
Melissa Crytzer Fry
There is something about this little book that packs a big punch. Perhaps it’s the reality of nurses who volunteered to serve during the war and who were put into the same horrific, life-threatening predicaments as soldiers, but who were never fully recognized for it? Perhaps it was learning of their mettle, their humanity.

While this book had a more commercial feel to it than the books I gravitate toward in my 4- and 5-star ratings (faster pace vs. a quiet unraveling, less emphasis on setting an
Marie-Josee Saumer
When most of think about world war 2, what comes to mind? We mainly think about the soldiers that fought, suffered, died and survived the war, we also think about all the civilians that have lost their lives, suffered and survived the war. Now what we do not necessarily take the time to recognize are the military nurses that volunteered years of their life to helping injured soldiers and went through hell themselves to survive or at least try to survive.
Although this story is a fictional story,
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo is a realistic, part romance, part historical fiction novel about two combat nurses, who were friends. Jo McMahon went to the Western Front and Kay Elliott went to Hawaii and Japan. This is a well research novel about these combat nurses who were unsung heros and made an incredible contribution to the war efforts. It is an emotional, shocking, powerful novel that is NOT your typical Hollywood glamour war story.
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
I read a lot of books about World War II and am especially interested in the nurses who were often in harm's way. This book is one of the best that I have read on nurse's roles, the danger that they were often faced with and the grit and determination they had to have to survive.

Jo and Kay met in nursing school and became friends. They both wanted adventure in their lives and they signed for the Army, hoping to go the the same location. Jo was sent to Europe, she wasn't exactly sure where becaus
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOTE: This review contains spoilers, so if you haven't read it yet, skip this review!

I was really torn about whether or not I liked this book. No, that's not quite right. I did LIKE it, but my enjoyment of it went up and down. At one point I would have rated it a 1, then a few pages later I would have given it a 5. There was some beautiful writing, followed by some naive, childish writing, and I became irritated by all of the overly long sentences. They work well when showing a character's menta
The Lit Bitch
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2017 has started off as a very good year for me when it comes to reading choices! This book, THE FIRE BY NIGHT, sounded so full of potential and interesting that I couldn’t pass it up.

This was story of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival and one that will likely stay with readers long after they are finished.

I was surprised at how easy it was to like the main characters. I worried I would like one more than the other but I found myself equally captivated by each one and invested in each o
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful. I was riveted from the first chapter. This book pulls no punches and offers an unflinching look at the anguish and despair of WWII from the perspective of two nurses. The Fire by Night is about harrowing situations, heroes and heartbreak. Read this!
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read
This book caught my eye mainly because it is the story of two American nurses that enlisted to serve during World War II: Jo was sent to The Western Front and Kay served at Pearl Harbor. I’m especially interested in these wartime, frontline nurses because I am a nurse and this is a branch of my career that I know almost nothing about. I was also intrigued by the fact that these two nurses were best friends back in New York before even going to war.

Kay and Jo tell their stories in separate POV-ch
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Although I do read other book genres, historical fiction is my favorite. World War II is my top favorite and I tend to read a lot, both fiction and non-fiction. When I heard about ‘Fire By Night’ at a webinar with the publisher, I knew I had to read it.

Fire By Night is a bit different than many WWII books out there. Its focus is on two American Military nurses that served near two different war fronts. Jo and Kay are from two very different parts of the U.S. Jo is from Brooklyn and Kay from a sm
Kris - My Novelesque Life
2017; William Morrow/HarperCollins

I was SUPER excited to read this novel as it was the nurses of WWII that were the main characters.  As I started reading I was impressed with the writer's research and writing.  Several chapters was started to read like a Nicholas Sparks novel.  Now, I read Sparks (though I have not read anything in awhile) and enjoy his books, but I have to be in a certain mood for it.  The predictability of sorrow, sappy romance and hope of HEA (happil
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
Harrowing, and at times so very moving, was this tale of two American nurses serving on different fronts during World War II. Jo and Kay became friends in nursing school, and, together, they joined the Army nurse corps.
The horrific challenges of practicing medicine in a theatre of war were many! Jo was to manage her task of tending to six critically wounded soldiers in the mayhem of a field hospital/tent while coping with a shortage of necessary drugs, impossibly unsanitary conditions, widespre
Fred Shaw
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who are the heroes in war? The soldier fighting at the front? The general with the strategic plan? The nurses and doctors saving lives in field hospitals?

“The Fire by Night”, by Teresa Messineo, published 2017, is an historical novel of 2 WW II Army nurses, friends from nursing school, who went to war to save lives. “Jo” an Irish American and Brooklynite, went to Europe, Kay a small-town girl from Pennsylvania, went to the Pacific. Very different backgrounds and theaters of war but very similar
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 wonderfully outstanding stars

What a story and what a book I have had the pleasure of reading! Ms Messineo has written a novel that points to the extreme courage, dedication, and love that the Army nurses displayed during World War 2. She introduces us to two wonderful characters in the form of Kay, a nurse stationed in the South Pacific at the dawn of the war and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and Jo, a nurse entrenched in war torn France. The way in which these two women lived their lives, cari
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Stories about nurses serving during war time has always been an interest to me. This book was very well researched and I can say, I would anything else by this author.
This fictionalized account of two nurses, Jo and Kay, was very detailed and realistic. As they wanted adventure in their lives and the war was on, they joined the service hoping to be stationed together. The book is split in two narratives, going back and forth between Jo’s experience in the Europe and Kay in Hawaii and Japan.

Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this book a lot of credit for what it was trying to do. It followed two army nurses during WW2, one on the Western Front, and one in the Pacific arena, during the final days of the war. Jo (the one in Europe, and to me the more compelling character) is left with 6 patients in a field hospital on the front line, with dwindling medicine and food, and several acute cases on her hands; and Kay has been captured by the Japanese and is taken to an internment camp in the Philippines, with horrif ...more
Rhonda Ruff
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love wwII books and read quite a few. This was a great story with sadness and love and friendship. It was a very easy read. The reason for 4 stars is i found in some Jo chapters things got jumbled up a bit and i found myself having to go back and reread. Other then that i highly recommend
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely inspiring. Messineo captures so many incredible aspects of nursing, and I imagine does justice to the war-front. I can't wait to buy this book when it is finally released!
Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
As Canada is remembering the battle at Vimy Ridge which happened 100 years ago, I have been reading more historical novels. This one is 5+ star book!!! This story is filled with emotions and pulls at the strings of your heart in an expected way. This is the story of two American nurse friends who both served in the WW2. One was sent to the Pacific war; the other to the war in Europe. Their stories will touch you and most likely move you. When I think of war nurses, I think of the old war movies ...more
Jenny Q
4.5 Stars. Sometimes the books that move me the most are the hardest to review. It can be hard to put thoughts into words when a book so completely absorbs me, chews me up, and spits me out. I'm sure there are other novels out there focusing specifically on nurses in World War II, but this is the first one I've read, and though it's only February, I can already say this is one of the best books I'll read all year. It may end up being THE best. It's going to be hard to beat. The back cover copy d ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars!

Incredibly moving, hauntingly realistic and exceptionally captivating!

This is an impactful story that is told from two different perspectives. Jo, an American nurse whose compassion and strength are tested near the front lines of the western front. And Kay, Jo's friend and fellow nurse who must endure horrific conditions and extreme brutality after being taken as a POW by the Japanese in the Pacific.

This is story about war, strength, bravery, hope, loss, injustice, love, and survival.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. It is a story of war without sugar coating, covered in blemishes and warts. Two different nurses who had become friends in nursing school eagerly sign up to use their skills in WWII. However, real war turned out to be different than their expectations. Jo McMahon is sent to France while Kay Elliot ended up in the city of Manila, Philippines. Jo tries to minister to her bedraggled, starving patients in a poorly stocked tent while the Germans are advancin ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WWII. Two young women graduate nursing school and sign up to assist the war effort. Though they hope to be placed in the same unit, one is sent to the Western Front and one to the South Pacific.

They keep in contact by letter as long as they are able. As their stories unfold, the horrors of war come closer, caring for the injured becomes next to impossible and their own lives are put in danger. The strength of these women, as they tap into reserves they didn't know they possessed, will cause yo
Melissa Rothman
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book in a give away and there are so many things I want to say about it 1 it's a beautiful cover that fits the book great. 2 this read is a very raw, emotional and hardcore book and that is what makes it so damn beautiful and unique. 3 the writing and descriptions make U feel like ur there with them. 4 it was a good idea to have both women tell their stories. 5 I highly recommend it for anyone!!!
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved several WWII books last year and was intrigued by this story of two women serving in WWII on different fronts. Somehow the stories got lost in the details of the war and hardship. I wasn't able to connect to either woman as they felt very 2 dimensional to me. Parts of the story felt disjointed and out of place. Not what I was looking for.
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Teresa Messineo is an outspoken woman whose passionate social interest and positions have been featured in a special documentary, a World War II photo shoot and photographic notice in the New York Times - click on the link to read one such article, page 14:

Teresa was alternatively schooled until her Freshman year, after which she transferred to a convention

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