The Innocents

By Caroline Seebohm
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781565125001, 288pp.)

Publication Date: April 2007

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Description
The whole world was about to change, and no one would be affected more deeply than Dorothea and Iris Crosby, sisters--identical twins--born to the wealth and social standing of New York City's Park Avenue. It was 1914, and while life in Manhattan seemed to center on grand balls and exotic parties, in Europe everything was coming undone. World War I was about to explode, and when it did it would involve many thousands of young Americans already heading overseas.
Aroused by the perils of the rest of the world, Dorothea and Iris decided to join the American Red Cross in France. Sent immediately to the battlefront, they became immersed in a daily struggle to help save lives, and when that wasn't possible, to at least make death less terrifying for the young French soldiers in their care. Beautiful and mysterious, the twin sisters were dubbed "les anges," the angels, by the wounded men.
They charmed the Americans as well, among them a fighter pilot with whom Iris fell in love--the first threat to the singular bond that held the sisters together. As the losses mounted, however, the link between the sisters grew stronger. Finally, when the battles ended, they awoke to the reality that the world they had known was forever gone, and home seemed a distant and alien place.
A powerful story of spiritual awakening, of innocence lost, and of the emotional toll of war, "The Innocents" is sure to appeal to readers of such outstanding historical novels as "Regeneration" by Pat Barker, "Birdsong" by Sebastian Faulks, and Rebecca West's classic "The Return of the Soldier. "
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