Seasons of the Birch

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
232 Pages
Reviewed on 01/11/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Seasons of the Birch by Susan M. Puska is a historical fiction novel that follows the life story of a young nurse during and after World War II. Raised by her older sister Anna, due to an abusive father and deceased mother, Ruth Amundsen grows up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with a naive outlook on life. After graduating from nurses' training at Marquette, she enlists in the Army Nurses Corps and soon finds herself treating patients during the war in the Philippines. Changed as a person, Ruth returns home, only to find little appreciation for her efforts during the war, unlike army vets. As she starts a family with a veteran suffering from alcoholism and PTSD, Ruth undergoes tremendous struggles navigating her work and personal life.

A poignant slice-of-life story depicting the tireless efforts of nurses during World War II, Seasons of the Birch is an enthralling read from start to finish. Set in the 1940s and 50s, author Susan M. Puska tells a touching tale of a young nurse trying to carve out a life for herself while facing overwhelming odds. Ruth is an independent and determined woman who is desperate to keep her family afloat while being married to a man who loses himself to the bottle. You find yourself rooting for her as she overcomes each hurdle that life throws at her. Whether facing harassment from officers in the army, treating patients, or dealing with an increasingly abusive husband, she perseveres through her struggles with a dogged determination you can't help but admire. Highly recommended.