Uncle John and the girls are discussing the ‘war in Europe’. They are also looking forward to the arrival of Maud, their film star friend, from California. And then, to top it off, their friend Ajo, no longer a mystery to them, arrives, having come to New York via his yacht around through the recently opened Panama Canal from where they had left him in Hollywood. Being lonely, he had decided to visit them.
They are all curious as to the reason Maud has come on her own, without her aunt and sister. When they discover her intentions of joining the Red Cross to go to Europe to tend the wounded.
Of course, this sets them all off, though Uncle John needs some convincing. They swiftly make plans to turn Ajo’s yacht into a hospital ship, kitted out by Multimillionaire Uncle John. No strings are left unsullied and they soon have Red Cross credentials, permissions from high ranking personages in Washington, and even a Doctor with a reputation for accompanying explorer groups.
I must say that this book pushes the limits of credulity. Yes, I know the book was written when America was still neutral. Yes, I know that there were many rich, high standing young ladies with good motives who went to play at nursing in those troubled times. But the whole idea of this group rushing off to sort things out bothers me. They are given secret plans of where the channel is mined because they fly the Red Cross and promise not to tell...?And then that the author uses them as almost a way of reporting the war, the battles and conditions by putting them so close to the battlefield, time and again. Then even more highly risky things are done which has them arrogantly (my description, not really how they acted so much) supposing they can go where they wish because they were given permission in Washington, have a Red Cross on their clothing, and especially because they are Americans. Even being affronted that High ranking officers would question them in a time of war...?
But that may be a true telling of the attitude of Americans at the time. If you can hold your irritation at these things and think of the book as another adventure, though much more dangerous than ever before, then you will be fine. The group pick up their friends and their strays as in most of the books. So, that holds true to the lives of Aunt Jane’s Girls.
The ending seems to imply that the author intended more about the adventures, but this is the last. It is possible that since the politics of the war brought Americans into it much more deeply, that L. Frank Baum also turned to other interests.
The reader was good.
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