Author: Audrey Blake
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on May 4, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Sourcebooks Landmark
Book Rating: 9/10
The story of one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her
Raised by the eccentric surgeon Dr. Horace Croft after losing her parents to a deadly pandemic, the orphan Nora Beady knows little about conventional life. While other young ladies were raised to busy themselves with needlework and watercolors, Nora was trained to perfect her suturing and anatomical illustrations of dissections.
Women face dire consequences if caught practicing medicine, but in Croft’s private clinic Nora is his most trusted–and secret–assistant. That is until the new surgical resident Dr. Daniel Gibson arrives. Dr. Gibson has no idea that Horace’s bright and quiet young ward is a surgeon more qualified and ingenuitive than even himself. In order to protect Dr. Croft and his practice from scandal and collapse Nora must learn to play a new and uncomfortable role–that of a proper young lady.
But pretense has its limits. Nora cannot turn away and ignore the suffering of patients even if it means giving Gibson the power to ruin everything she’s worked for. And when she makes a discovery that could change the field forever, Nora faces an impossible choice. Remain invisible and let the men around her take credit for her work, or let the world see her for what she is–even if it means being destroyed by her own legacy.
Multilayered, alluring, and incredibly absorbing!
The Girl in His Shadow is a fascinating, immersive tale set in London in the mid-1840s at a time when women were still forbidden to practice medicine, reproduction and childbirth still had high mortality rates, studying the dead was an underground, backdoor activity, and contemplating open surgery on the stomach was not only frowned upon but considered a death wish.
There are three main memorable characters in this novel. Dr Horace Croft, a renowned, unconventional surgeon whose reputation precedes him, Dr Daniel Gibson, a newly trained assistant with a desire to learn and discover, and Miss. Nora Beady, a young woman who, after spending her formative years under the care of the eccentric doctor and his housekeeper, is secretly a skilled and talented illustrator and surgeon in her own right.
The prose is eloquent and rich. The characters are intelligent, strong, and independent. And the plot is an engrossing, suspenseful tale of life, loss, duty, friendship, family, romance, determination, courage, and the evolution and procedures of early medicine.
The Girl in His Shadow is an atmospheric, evocative, beautifully written novel by the writing duo known as Audrey Blake that grabs you from the very first page and does a remarkable job of blending historical facts with compelling fiction that’s both informative and wonderfully captivating.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.