MixedWashington Independent Review of BooksAs heartbreaking stories emerge daily from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s difficult to imagine anything uplifting coming from any war ever. But author Lindsey Fitzharris reveals hope in the carnage of a long-ago conflict in The Facemaker ... Detailed explanations about the evolution of skin grafts, flaps, and the development of techniques such as tubed pedicules make it clear Fitzharris did her homework. Yet even though the story she weaves is compelling, its structure is somewhat confusing. It’s ironic that a book about early plastic surgery could’ve used some nipping, tucking, and rearranging to streamline its flow ... Too many times, paragraphs surely intended to be brief backgrounders about newly introduced topics read like lengthy Wikipedia entries, plunging readers down unwelcome rabbit holes. These detours distract from the story the author promised to tell — an intimate account of the struggles of Gillies’ team and the traumatized soldiers they mended ... Jarringly, the reader is left hanging for 172 pages before again encountering the plight of Percy Clare, an English private whose devastating injuries are featured in a gripping battle tale in the book’s prologue ... And it’s disappointing that the epilogue was treated as a catch-all for the author’s research leftovers because it makes for a disjointed read. Buried within it are tantalizing revelations better suited for existing or new chapters.