I have Cath of Read_Warbler to thank for this wonderful recommendation (which is very well reviewed here) which I greatly enjoyed reading.
Telling the story of Helen, an ambulance driver during the First World War, the book is set in France on the battlefield. Whilst many wartime memoirs often paint a somewhat cosy picture of everyone pulling together and a certain amount of enjoyment coming out of the comraderie and sense of a job well done, this book is harrowing and shows how dangerous work as an ambulance driver on the Western front really was. Not only do the girls cope with long shifts and very little sleep, they are also subject to the petty whims of the camp commandent known as The Bitch who seems to specialise in victimisation for small misdemeanours. Other things seem ridiculous - despite there being 40 ambulance drivers, cocoa is only ever made for 30, meaning that the last 10 drivers struggling in in the small hours have to do without. The girls survive on packages from home since the cook is incapable of cooking food that does not poison them. On the other hand, the girls relied on the support from their friendships to cheer them up, but the picture painted is one of unremitting hard work and horrific conditions.
I especially liked the style of writing, which was a bit stream of consciousnesslike and really added to the immediacy of the scenes that were being described:
As Cath explained in her review, the book feels like it is an autobiography, when actually it is a work of fiction. The author (actually the journalist Evadne Price) had been asked to write a spoof on All quiet on the western front, but had thought that this was inappropriate, and so ended up writing this book instead to comment on the horrific nature of the war.