'The real war started for me today.' So begins the diary of 18-year-old Mary Mulry, a young Irish nurse, newly arrived in London in 1940. Over the next seven years she witnesses many of the pivotal events of the war at first hand.
In London during the Blitz she sees a young woman die after a botched abortion, narrowly escapes from the bombing of the Alexandra Hotel, and nurses critically ill children during bombing raids in Woolwich. In Normandy in 1944, arriving on the heels of the D-Day invasion, she nurses Allied soldiers and German prisoners of war. In war-torn Belgium, she records harrowing stories of casualties from the Battle of Arnhem.
In these extraordinary diaries we see a young woman coming of age, falling in and out of love several times over. ('I always seem to be saying good-bye to men whom I might have loved had there been enough time,' she writes.) She eventually meets and falls in love with a young British Army officer and agrees to marry him two weeks later. The diary ends in Hamburg in 1947 with the birth of her son.
Mary's distinctive voice, sharp wit, rebellious spirit, and irrepressible personality make her diary entries feel just as immediate, dramatic and moving today as when they were first written 70 years ago.
©2014 The Mary Ellen Morris Trust/Carol Acton (P)2014 Orion Publishing Group
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Love to read on 24-02-15

Living history

What made the experience of listening to A Very Private Diary the most enjoyable?

A personal view of a traumatic period in our history told in an unforced chatty way that holds ones interest from begining to end

What did you like best about this story?

Mary herself,a remarkable woman yet so very ordinary,no airs and graces she just tells her own story modestly & matter of factlly.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

There were many,probably her tale of the patient & his wife

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The young airman burnt beyond recognition,the tiny sister suffering terribly,there were many quite harrowing moments

Any additional comments?

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the war or in the nursing profession

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