Bluebird by Genevieve Graham
WWI tunnellers, bootlegging, Bluebird nurses serving on the front lines… Bluebird is an absolute delight for fans of historical fiction. Set amidst the violent but glamorous backdrop of 1920s prohibition, this story brings Canadian history to life on the page!
Jerry and his brother, John, are tunnellers during WWI. When Jerry is wounded, he meets Adele, a “bluebird” nurse on the front lines. Not only do they realize that they’re both from the same area in Ontario, they also begin developing feelings for each other. After the war, the two return home. The Bailey brothers start up a whiskey running business in the midst of prohibition, and Adele continues nursing. Set amidst the glitzy, bootlegging era of the 1920s, this story is full of heart, danger, and incredible, Canadian history.
Although I’ve read my share of historical fiction, this was my first time encountering WWI “tunnellers.” I had no idea that military mining played a part in battle, and this was a fascinating fact to start with! In addition, I hadn’t heard the term “Bluebirds” before either. Bluebirds were Canadian nurses, thus named for their blue uniforms and white veils. Facts like these were constantly woven throughout the plot. This attention to detail created a fantastically researched story.
Not only is this story full of intriguing historical tidbits, it was also beautifully written. The characters were clearly touched by war and grief, and yet, had such a sweet and hopeful love story. I fell in love with Adele and Jerry, and truly felt their struggle to find each other again.
Bluebird is a story of romance and danger, wartime heroes, and the rollicking escapades of the 1920s prohibition! If you love historical fiction, this one’s for you!
Fans of historical fiction, and readers who enjoy Canadian history.
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. eArc provided courtesy of Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Canada. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the book:
(From the publisher): Present day: Cassie Simmons, a museum curator, is enthusiastic about solving mysteries from the past, and she has a personal interest in the history of the rumrunners who ferried illegal booze across the Detroit River during Prohibition. So when a cache of whisky labeled Bailey Brothers’ Best is unearthed during a local home renovation, Cassie hopes to find the answers she’s been searching for about the legendary family of bootleggers…
1918: Corporal Jeremiah Bailey of the 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company is tasked with planting mines in the tunnels beneath enemy trenches. After Jerry is badly wounded in an explosion, he finds himself in a Belgium field hospital under the care of Adele Savard, one of Canada’s nursing sisters, nicknamed “Bluebirds” for their blue gowns and white caps. As Jerry recovers, he forms a strong connection with Adele, who is from a place near his hometown of Windsor, along the Detroit River. In the midst of war, she’s a welcome reminder of home, and when Jerry is sent back to the front, he can only hope that he’ll see his bluebird again.
By war’s end, both Jerry and Adele return home to Windsor, scarred by the horrors of what they endured overseas. When they cross paths one day, they have a chance to start over. But the city is in the grip of Prohibition, which brings exciting opportunities as well as new dangerous conflicts that threaten to destroy everything they have fought for.
Pulled from the pages of history, Bluebird is a compelling, luminous novel about the strength of the human spirit and the power of love to call us home.