Call the Nurse

True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle

Foreword by Claire Macdonald
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About The Book

Tired of the pace and noise of life near London and longing for a better place to raise their young children, Mary J. MacLeod and her husband encountered their dream while vacationing on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides. Enthralled by its windswept beauty, they soon were the proud owners of a near-derelict croft house—a farmer’s stone cottage—on “a small acre” of land. Mary assumed duties as the island’s district nurse. Call the Nurse is her account of the enchanted years she and her family spent there, coming to know its folk as both patients and friends.

In anecdotes that are by turns funny, sad, moving, and tragic, she recalls them all, the crofters and their laird, the boatmen and tradesmen, young lovers and forbidding churchmen. Against the old-fashioned island culture and the grandeur of mountain and sea unfold indelible stories: a young woman carried through snow for airlift to the hospital; a rescue by boat; the marriage of a gentle giant and the island beauty; a ghostly encounter; the shocking discovery of a woman in chains; the flames of a heather fire at night; an unexploded bomb from World War II; and the joyful, tipsy celebration of a ceilidh. Gaelic fortitude meets a nurse’s compassion in these wonderful true stories from rural Scotland.

About The Author

Mary J. MacLeod qualified as a nurse in England and has lived in Aden (now Yemen), the United States, Sweden, and Saudi Arabia as well as her husband George’s native Scotland. This is her second book, and she has written her third. She currently lives in England.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Arcade (April 2013)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781611459173

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Raves and Reviews

“Julia MacLeod shares unique and enchanting experiences as a nurse in rural Scotland. Her stories will ring true with every nurse—or anyone—who has ever cared for a family or a community, whether in Scotland or America. Call the Nurse is a delightful read.”
-- LeAnn Thieman, author Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul

“Cozy and chatty . . . A lovely account of ordinary people thriving in an extraordinary landscape.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The book feels like a letter from a friend who has an eye for travel writing. . . . With a nurse’s no-nonsense manner, MacLeod relays tales of adventure, finding humor and humanity in her experiences. . . . For James Herriot fans, without the animals.”—Booklist

“MacLeod proves to be an engaging narrative writer who uses humor and vernacular to her advantage. Should be of interest not only to medical professionals but to all readers who want to escape to a slower way of life.”—Library Journal

“This lively and heartening memoir evokes both the hardships and the humour of island life.” —The Scotsman

"This charming, bracing reminiscence of life on a remote Hebridean island captures a vanishing world filled with memorable stories and characters. . . . Mary J. MacLeod makes you care, moves you, amuses you, shocks you, teaches you: This is a surprising, satisfying memoir."—Floyd Skloot, author of In the Shadow of Memory and The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer’s Life

“Call the Midwife gave [us] . . . the nursing profession in 1950s London. Now, a retired district nurse [gives us] the heartwarming and humorous—yet often shocking—events on a remote Scottish island.”—Sunday Post, UK

"A charming tale, packed full with reminiscences, rather in the manner of the recent hit TV series, Call the Midwife. . . . Her tales of joy, trouble, drama, and comedy are warm and humorous, telling of a bygone era."—Westcountry Life, Western Morning News, UK

“Julia MacLeod has written a book which encapsulates Hebridean life during some decades past . . . with a sensitivity that reflects her nursing career.”—Lady Claire Macdonald of Macdonald, from her foreword

“Julia MacLeod shares unique and enchanting experiences as a nurse in rural Scotland. Her stories will ring true with every nurse—or anyone—who has ever cared for a family or a community, whether in Scotland or America. Call the Nurse is a delightful read.”
-- LeAnn Thieman, author Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul

“Cozy and chatty . . . A lovely account of ordinary people thriving in an extraordinary landscape.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The book feels like a letter from a friend who has an eye for travel writing. . . . With a nurse’s no-nonsense manner, MacLeod relays tales of adventure, finding humor and humanity in her experiences. . . . For James Herriot fans, without the animals.”—Booklist

“MacLeod proves to be an engaging narrative writer who uses humor and vernacular to her advantage. Should be of interest not only to medical professionals but to all readers who want to escape to a slower way of life.”—Library Journal

“This lively and heartening memoir evokes both the hardships and the humour of island life.” —The Scotsman

"This charming, bracing reminiscence of life on a remote Hebridean island captures a vanishing world filled with memorable stories and characters. . . . Mary J. MacLeod makes you care, moves you, amuses you, shocks you, teaches you: This is a surprising, satisfying memoir."—Floyd Skloot, author of In the Shadow of Memory and The Wink of the Zenith: The Shaping of a Writer’s Life

“Call the Midwife gave [us] . . . the nursing profession in 1950s London. Now, a retired district nurse [gives us] the heartwarming and humorous—yet often shocking—events on a remote Scottish island.”—Sunday Post, UK

"A charming tale, packed full with reminiscences, rather in the manner of the recent hit TV series, Call the Midwife. . . . Her tales of joy, trouble, drama, and comedy are warm and humorous, telling of a bygone era."—Westcountry Life, Western Morning News, UK

“Julia MacLeod has written a book which encapsulates Hebridean life during some decades past . . . with a sensitivity that reflects her nursing career.”—Lady Claire Macdonald of Macdonald, from her foreword

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