Guest – Ann Shorey . . . Is There a Nurse In the House?

Many thanks to Karen Witemeyer for inviting me to be a guest blogger today to spread the word about my newest novel for Revell, Where Wildflowers Bloom.

Wildflowers is the first in the Sisters at Heart series and is set in Missouri shortly after the end of the War Between the States. When I worked up the proposal for this series, I had my characters and their occupations set in my mind. I planned that one of the characters, Rosemary Saxon, would be a nurse during the war, and then would follow the same occupation afterward. 

Well, surprise, surprise. When I began to research nurses in the Civil War, I learned that very few of them were women, and the ones who were female were generally older and/or widows. For a young unmarried woman to touch men’s bodies, even to tend to wounds, was considered vulgar. Throughout the war, male nurses outnumbered female nurses 4 to 1. The general public believed women would only be a nuisance and get in the way of the doctors.

Where female nurses were allowed, they were required to be plain-looking women. Their dresses were to be brown or black, no bows, no curls, no jewelry, and no hoop-skirts. The last prohibition made sense, since the hospital aisles were narrow. 

So, where did this leave Rosemary, who was to be a continuing character in the series? Using my artistic license, she’s attractive, not plain, but I did make her “old.” She’s twenty-seven. J In addition to her God-given gift of mercy, she’s also determined to the point of being headstrong. She needs to be to stand up to the prejudice she encounters.

In Where Wildflowers Bloom, Rosemary is the best friend of the story’s protagonist, Faith Lindberg. Oh, and did I mention Rosemary has a brother, Curt? How many of us remember having girlfriends with handsome brothers? I’ll just say that through Rosemary, Faith and Curt end up spending quite a bit of time together.

So, like Rosemary, have any of you taken a job in what is considered a man’s field? Did you encounter prejudice? On a more romantic note, did any of you ever fall in love with the brother of your best friend? How did it work out?

 I hope you’ll look for Where Wildflowers Bloom at your local bookstore, or through an online retailer. Please visit my website at for more information about Where Wildflowers Bloom, as well as my other books.

Where Wildflowers Bloom

How far will she go to follow her dreams?

 The War Between the States stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg—as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and traveling west to Oregon to start a new life, away from the memories that haunt her. But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the family’s mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations.

When Royal Baxter suddenly returns, Faith allows herself to hope that she and Royal will finally wed. But does he truly love her? Or will another man claim her heart?


Ann has graciously agreed to give away a copy of Where Wildflowers Bloom today, so be sure to leave a comment in order to be entered in the drawing!

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27 thoughts on “Guest – Ann Shorey . . . Is There a Nurse In the House?”

  1. Sadly, none of my friends had brothers the right age (or who were interested in their kid sister’s friends!). I always think of the March family in Little Women when I think of the injured Civil War soldiers (and others) – didn’t Marmee go at one point because Father had been ill?

  2. None of my friends had brother the right age for me either. My best friends brother was a lot older then us. I did take a job one time in a factory that was a mans job being a machine operator and you had to do alot of maintence work on them. Yes I did get hit with prejudice, they didn’t thing a women could do the job but I proved them wrong.

  3. I worked as an RN when it was rare to see a male nurse. Now a days, you see quite a role reversal with a lot of female doctors and a lot of male nurses.

    I did have a crush on an older brother of a class mate who lived down the street. She was not a best friend. He was 6 years older. Our paths only crossed once. C’est la vie!

  4. I loved the post,as a retired LPN,I worked for over 25 yrs,an some of the best nurses I worked with were Male,,nope I had a older sister an wouldnt have went out with any of her friends,we had totaly different taste when it came to friends an boys

  5. Loved the post Ann. Very interesting research you uncovered regarding Female nurses. Where Wildflowers Bloom sounds like a great read. I would love to win a copy of it.

    There isn’t a nurse in our family but there is a nurse’s assistant that was kind of grandfathered in on certain procedures…such as helping deliver babies.


  6. None of my friends had older brothers, I guess I should have broaded my circle of friends.. Interesting post on the start of the nursing profession for women.. Ann’s books sound very intersting. thanks for introducing her to me!

  7. Great post Ann! I studied Civil War medicine in college and those women who persevered and became nurses were amazing.

    Actually, I work in an extremely male dominated field as a military historian. My bosses are a retired Navy Captain, and two retired Navy Admirals. There’s some definite prejudice, but once I proved myself (and even cut through all the tape and got the job) it’s been an great experience.

    I look forward to reading WHERE WILDFLOWERS BLOOM.


  8. Hi Ann, I’m a Missouri girl and I love to read books set here. I’ll be looking for yours. My great-grandmother (who was born in the early 1880s) was a nurse. She was definately strong willed, but also much loved. She was a believer in cleanliness and used her some of her earnings to add an indoor bathroom to her home. My great-grandfather was totally against it until it was built, then he changed his mind. 🙂

  9. Thanks for this interesting post. My son is a pediatrician, young and very busy. Many more male nurses now then ever before. best wishes and much happiness.

  10. Good Morning Ann! This was a great post, and I really enjoyed reading it. I love books set around the Civil War period, and so happy to see your Sisters at Heart series. I have not read any of your books yet, but that is about to change. I am really looking forward to it.

  11. Good morning, Eastern time zone readers! It’s 7:45 am here in Oregon. What interesting comments!
    Allison, in my research I learned that Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, was a nurse for a short time during the Civil War. One of these days I hope to read the book she wrote about her experiences.

  12. So cool to read all the posts from readers who have nurses in their families, or are nurses themselves. I’ve dedicated the second book in the series, which I just completed, to nurses everywhere. Blessings to all of you. 🙂
    I had one girlfriend who had three gorgeous older brothers, but sadly, none of them were ever interested in me. That’s what’s fun about writing fiction–I can make things turn out the way I want them to.

  13. Ann, welcome to the Junction. We’re so happy to have you here. Before today I never thought much about nurses in the Civil War. Very interesting. Congratulations on the new book. It looks great. Wishing you lots of success with it.

  14. Hi Ann,
    My future daughter-in-law is a nurse and two of my nephews and a niece are studying to be nurses(these three are brothers and sister).
    I did have a crush on my best friends much older brother for a short time but we really never saw each other so I quickly got over it.
    I too just assumed there were female nurses in the Civil War. It is interesting how women were thought to be a nuisance and had to be plain looking. Thank you for a great post!

  15. Hi Ann, welcome to the junction! I have two daughters who are nurses (twins) and a nephew who is a nurse practitioner. As for working in a male dominated field, back when I first got out of college (in what my kids call the dark ages) I went to work as a computer programmer. Back then there were very few women in the profession but I saw it change significantly over the course of my career.

  16. I started out in college as a nursing student in 1953. I really wanted to be a doctor, but everyone in my mother’s family nixed the idea. In fact, they didn’t even believe I’d finish college much less be a doctor. No one in my mother’s family had ever gone to college. Don’t tell me I can’t do something because that’s exactly what I’ll do. I ended up with a B.S. degree and a MEd. Even taught for 8 years at the college level.

    Oh, and yes, I was in love with my best friend’s brother, but it didn’t work out. They moved away and I didn’t see him again until he was married. (He was 3 years older)

    My next series is post Civil-War. Your story sounds great.

  17. Enjoyed reading the comments. I have great respect for nurses. Your book sounds really good. I am always looking for new authors to read.

  18. Martha, and all of you you love Civil War books: I became interested in writing a series set in the post-war era because my great-grandparents, who were married in 1867 in Illinois, moved to Missouri soon after their wedding. After visiting Gettysburg a couple of years ago I kept wondering how the citizens there resumed their “normal” lives! The area was one big battlefield! How do people go on after something so traumatic?

  19. None of my friends had brothers the right age.
    I worked in maintenance for a school district–not cleaning an mopping.
    Helped put in a new football scoreboard and build an asbestos removal chamber, among other things.
    No prejudice. One other woman was also on the team.

  20. Ann,

    I loved the post….Your cover is just lovely….I was in nursing school and had one semester left of having my RN license and decided it was not for me….I wanted to write….I love writing…

    Walk in harmony,

  21. Thanks for the info on your book…I’m adding it to my TBR list of books. Some of my girlfriends had older brothers but I never thought of them as being handsome ..I always wanted an older brother who would then get me dates with his friends…never happened.

  22. Your post was informative. Many women trailblazed the way and became doctors and scientists. They are all special. Now it is not rare at all. there are many more women doctors than ever and men nurses.

  23. I am so happy that there are so many out there willing to work as a nurse because it is not a job that I could do.

    Looking forward to reading this one!

  24. Hi Ann,
    Welcome to Wildflower Junction (a little late!) This book of yours look so interesting. I had wanted to become a nurse when I was younger, but the math was daunting to me (never good in it.) The only job I can think of that was male-dominated (and yes there was some prejudice there!) was when I worked at a museum here in Oklahoma City in the “security” dept. Actually, it consisted of being more of a “tour guide” than any actual “security” but there were only about 3 or 4 of us women compared to maybe 10 men. Loved your post about nurses in the War Between the States and your book just looks wonderful.

  25. It’s been so cool reading posts from all of you who have worked in what once were male-dominated fields. Good for you!
    My SIL was a career officer in the Navy and she definitely bumped into the glass ceiling.
    Kirsten, your job as a military historian sounds totally fascinating! You go, girl!!

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