In Distant Fields by Charlotte Bingham
This work is set in Christmas 1913. Kitty and Lady Partita are best friends despite vastly different backgrounds. Partita has invited her friend, Kitty, to stay at her ancestral home, Bauders Castle. The grandeur of Partita's family seat is in stark contrast to Kitty's home in London where she and her mother, Violet, struggle to maintain appearances despite Kitty's father gambling away the family money. Kitty is introduced to the aristocracy; a fascinating, decorative and theatrical world. Kitty is enthralled and desperately wants to be part of this way of life, far removed from the genteel poverty in which she and her mother are forced to exist. But war breaks out, not only irrevocably changing society, but also the lives of these two beautiful young women. The headstrong Partita and down-to-earth Kitty become nurses and selflessly care for the men horrifically injured in the trenches of WWI. This novel is about the the mothers and daughters, sisters and wives left at home holding things together on the homefront and caring for their men. It's about love and heartbreak, but most importantly of all, the remarkable nature of female friendship.