An Officer and a Gentlewoman by Heloise Goodley

Published March 3, 2013

An Officer and a Gentlewoman by Heloise Goodley

Book info

  • Title
  • Author Heloise Goodley
  • Year
  • Genres


I’ve always been a bit intrigued by the army - not for military or war reasons, but more for the self-contained way of life. Along with bunkers and islands, the ghost villages of Salisbury and the fenced in housing estates of Tidworth have always captured my attention. Plus, tanks are cool.

So, I was intrigued to pick up this book during the festive sale on Amazon. The story of one woman’s journey through officer training at Sandhurst. Giving up a high-flying career in London’s Square Mile, Heloise opts for the back-breaking, soul-destroying exercises, drills and room inspections that pave the way to becoming an officer of the army.

This book is great. Although names are changed, and events heightened no doubt, it’s a real behind-the-scenes look into three terms of what can only be described as hell. I don’t know who would put themselves through this, but I admire anyone that does. With descriptions of the exercises, the kind of training and the way the officer course is structures, there’s a lot of information to digest. The best insight is gained from Heloise’s thoughts on how the training compared to reality, as well as how females fit into the grand scheme of army life.

It was interesting to note that the memories came from a diary that officer cadets are required to keep - these tomes are occasionally gathered up by the staff, presumably so they can see just how close to breaking point the recruits are. The book covers the three terms at Sandhurst, with a few peeks at the future officer going to and returning from Afghanistan. I understand there’s a need for keeping some things quiet, and the Army may not allow it, but I would have liked a bit more of the transitionary period. How do you go from the gates of Sandhurst to leading your own troop of soldiers? We had all the training and a bit of experienced officer, but nothing in between.

That’s the smallest of complaints, though, for what is a great book. It made me feel pretty weak and precious reading it though!

Rating: Unrated

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