I loved this book, though parts of it made me sad. War is horrible any way you slice it, and the author really made me feel what was going on in Mercy's head and heart: her fears, her hopes, and her undaunted courage in the line of fire.
Written in first-puppy POV, we follow Darling as she leaves her human family and goes from life in the country to life on the battlefield. We feel her exhilaration at finding a wounded soldier, her intense fear as the ground explodes around her while bullets whir overhead, her gut-wrenching desperation and drive to keep digging, to keep searching, for a soldier that, for personal reasons, she simply has to save.
Darling: Mercy Dog of World War I brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know if that’s because I read it on Veteran’s Day or if I’m just overly emotional, but Darling’s story gripped me by the heart and wouldn’t let me go. I just keep thinking about what I read and how it made me feel. I also think of all our modern-day dogs of war and the men and women they protect, sometimes at the cost of life or limb.
Darling’s tale is fictitious, but it’s rooted in the truth. Multiple British families sacrificed their beloved pets to the war; horses, dogs, and pigeons were used to find wounded soldiers, carry messages, and tote supplies—and many lost their lives in the process; they made the ultimate sacrifice playing a vital part in a human war they couldn’t possibly understand.
Many thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for a review copy. This is an excellent story, and I carry it in my heart.