In Falling Snow

MacColl, Mary-Rose

  18 Reviews

As if Grace Hogan didn't have enough to juggle what with her husband and young children and her own medical career, now there is international travel to contend with. When the invitation to a French WW1 reunion arrives for her grandmother, Grace reluctantly attends in her place, discovering Iris's astonishing earlier life and the truth of her own heritage. When Iris had travelled from Australia to the battlefields of Europe to find her underage brother, she'd ended up serving in a field hospital, staffed only by women, close to the Western Front.

Inspired by true events and moving between 1970s Brisbane and life at the abbey at Royaumont, this is a powerful story of love, sacrifice and the changing role of women in medicine. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups

Without exception, our group enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others. Whitianga 001

We all loved the story and enjoyed the final chapters, with the unexpected twist and the bringing of issues together. There was a full discussion on the social changes for women in society through our own experiences. We talked at length about the 'stigma' of unmarried mothers, adoption and effects on children. Highly recommended. Tauranga 043

We had a lively and intense discussion.We found the plot too convoluted, especially towards the end, but the characters interesting and well developed, especially Grace, Iris, Violet and Miss Ivers. The important issues we discussed were discrimination towards women; motherhood, the horrors and waste of war; the bravery of the Scottish women, and love in wartime. We found the writing somewhat uneven, but with beautiful passages and pertinent observation. Wellington 117

11 out of 12 members thoroughly enjoyed the book. An interesting discussion took place, and the ending provoked the most discussion as none of us thought it would end the way it did. A great read - thoroughly recommended. Tauranga 023

The best book we have read for ages. A little wordy but a lovely story - informative, believable and interesting. Auckland 050

What a great book! We had quite an interesting discussion about women in medicine, and how difficult it must have been to even train as a doctor in the earlier part of the 20th century. Even looking at Grace's life as a doctor in the 1970s, men still dominated the workplace. This was very cleverly written with a surprise ending which no-one foretold. Auckland 293

Varied comments. Some thought the medical details were not completely accurate, but conceded that the book gave a good idea of what war conditions etc were like. Auckland 261

A wide range of comments from "the best book this year", to "just couldn't get into it", but a good discussion followed. Havelock North 008

We had a very lively discussion, as the whole group had finished the book and all enjoyed it. While some didn't think the writer wrote "particularly well', the story was good and the historical aspect of WW1, fascinating. Wellington 060

We all enjoyed it - most of us read it straight through! Warkworth 003

An interesting story which stimulated good discussion, especially the descriptions related to Royaumont. It could have been shorter/edited more, but it was enjoyable with a good twist at the end. Auckland 039

A fabulous read, we all loved it - a rare occurrence! Well constructed, beautifully written and un-put-downable. Considering it was such a depressing topic, it somehow managed to tell a beautiful story without being upsetting. Awesome set of questions! Fernside 001

The book produced a lively discussion with particular liking for the description of the First World War period. We were also intrigued by the factual basis of the story with the Scottish Women's hospital. The subtle placing of clues meant that many of us were completely surprised by the twist in the plot. We would recommend the book to most, although it was both long and complex. Christchurch 058

Our group all really enjoyed the book....we were interested in and impressed by the women who worked at Royaumont, and we had lots of discussion about a 'woman's role', even in today's society! Invercargill 001

Our group really enjoyed 'In Falling Snow'. Would recommend, especially if you are into historical novels interspersed with modern times. MacColl paints a great picture of "a group of women who ran a field hospital for France in WW1 in an old abbey"...... Christchurch 222



Some felt that it needed more editing, took a bit to get into but enjoyable in the end.
NELS 048
Our group loved this book and it stimulated great discussion about the role of women in medicine and war, and the transition back to peacetime roles.
NAP 032
In short, everyone loved it and the consensus of opinion was an impressive 4.7/5.
CHCH 503
Loved this book. Fears, desires, tragedy and strength of women, both in modern times and in a different century (1914).
CHCH 449
Although some of us found this book a little slow to begin with and the jumps in times and characters a little confusing, overall we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was interesting to learn of more woman who played major roles in WW1 and we had a good discussion on how the gender roles have and haven't changed over the years.
A lovely weaving of two different points in history and the effects of war and how these are passed down through generations. For many of us this was the best book we have read all year (and we have had some good ones) but others found it overly laden with detail and slow to get to the story. The people and locations where thoroughly drawn. An immersive drama that you must get to the end of!
ASHB 016
Every one of us loved this book without a doubt - a very unusual situation for us! Great discussion - most of us didn't figure out the whole story until right at the end, although some had an inkling. Really good discussion - probably the best book we have read this year and we've had some really good books. Quite a few of us will try and read some of her other books.
We all enjoyed reading the book, in particular the story of the hospital run by women in WW1. We loved the strong female characters and the twists and turns of the plot kept us reading. In retrospect, however, our discussion centered mostly around some of the implausibilities of the plot and unnecessary complications and issues that the author had introduced. Without some of these distractions the story would have been even more powerful.
CHCH 376
Excellent book, appreciated by all, with a great story well told. Some felt the ending a little disappointing. It felt rushed, a bit too "tidy", and not in the style of the rest of the book. Despite this, highly recommended!
The book was universally loved by our group, hard to believe that it was ficton as it all appeared so real. We all learned a lot and good discussion ensued. Opinions varied according to the individuals experience especially when discussing women's roles in what has traditionally been a 'men's' world of war and medicine.
A great read. Enjoyed by all!
MTMA 010
Our group all enjoyed the book. It opened up lively discussion on a variety of topics - changes in moral perceptions, treatment of the military by their colleagues, improvements in congenital disease diagnosis, and the strong role these women played in the war. We found it a thought provoking and interesting book.
All of us enjoyed a light read for a change - it's not often we ALL enjoy the book. Some felt the story lacked intensity, but it was helped by a surprise twist at the end.
This book seemed to be a long and drawn out story, but the last 100 pages brought everything together and it all made sense.
AUCK 009
Interesting and enjoyable, and it got better as it went along. None of us knew about 'led dames ecossaises' or about Royaumont, so we learnt a lot. Was it a good book for discussion Not sure. Only that not much has changed for professional women in 100 years - that we're sure of.
CHCH 446
Our group loved this book, and found it a compelling read. It was not a hard read, but gave a really good insight into the role of women in WWI and just what an important part they played, risking their lives on a daily basis. We would thoroughly recommend it to other groups. The intricate plot kept us guessing to the last page, and we thought the characterization was particularly well done. You could feel the anguish,and the mystery of what happened pervaded the story.
CHCH 378
We loved this book, very easy to read. Great storyline, good narrative and feeling of the times. Would recommend. Gave a woman's view of what has essentially always been a man's story where war is concerned.
CHCH 240
Members loved this book. It was easy to read, and gave a true and realistic portrayal of Iris' life - opening her horizons from what would have been a remote and quiet life. It portrayed the horrors of war very cleverly and sensitively. The role of women, their compassion and strength, in a man's war, coping in an isolated area with little support until they had proved themselves. It portrayed sadness, tragedy, love, and futility. The surprise disclosure towards the end fooled us all, as there were many "red herrings" or innuendos that took our thoughts down a different path.