Messineo applied the Page 69 Test to The Fire by Night and reported the following:
Page 69 in The Fire by Night is somewhat representative, as it highlights a graphic medical procedure (an appendectomy done under desperate circumstances) and this book is - ostensibly - primarily about medical military personnel and the job they did to win the war. Page 69 falls short as far as describing the book as a whole in that The Fire by Night is more about the relationships in the book. Relationship of nurse to patient. Friend to friend. Commanding officer to subordinate. Allied to Axis. Woman to woman. Man to man. And, of course, individual woman to individual man. I think people are surprised by my novel - they assume it's going to be a straight-out romance and then are shocked by the brutality, the graphic violence and ugliness of war. Some people just have to put it down, they can’t keep reading. Others think it will be more like a textbook, a recounting of ‘this nurse went here and did this and then got transferred here’ - and then they are confused when people have emotions, or cry or break down. This book is so much more because life is so much more. These women were heroes because of what they did while feeling everything that they did. The loss and the pain and the horror around them didn’t stop them from doing the practical, life-saving jobs they did. But we do these veterans, we do all veterans a disservice when we downplay or censor or sanitize war. This is a war novel and, as such, it is horrible. War novels must be horrible, war must be shown as the nightmare it is or we, as a world, are rash enough to jump right back into the next one. But this book is also beautiful. Profoundly so. Because these women, because humanity is inherently beautiful, even if the world surrounding them was hell. And that’s why I wrote this book.Follow Teresa Messineo on Facebook.
My Book, The Movie: The Fire by Night.