#BookReview The Invincible Miss Cust by Penny Haw @PennyHaw @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheInvincibleMissCust #PennyHaw #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Invincible Miss Cust

Author: Penny Haw

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Oct. 4, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 10/10

Must-read historical fiction for fans of Marie Benedict and Tracey Enerson Wood, based on the real life of Britain and Ireland’s first woman veterinary surgeon.

Aleen Cust has big dreams and no one―not her family, society, or the law―will stop her.

Born in Ireland in 1868 to an aristocratic English family, Aleen knows she is destined to work with animals, even if her family is appalled by the idea of a woman pursuing a veterinary career. Going against their wishes but with the encouragement of the guardian assigned to her upon her father’s death, Aleen attends the New Veterinary College in Edinburgh, enrolling as A. I. Custance to spare her family the humiliation they fear. At last, she is on her way to becoming a veterinary surgeon! Little does she know her biggest obstacles lie ahead.

The Invincible Miss Cust is based on the real life of Aleen Isabel Cust, who defied her family and society to become Britain and Ireland’s first woman veterinary surgeon. Through Penny Haw’s meticulous research, riveting storytelling, and elegant prose, Aleen’s story of ambition, determination, family, friendship, and passion comes to life. It is a story that, even today, women will recognize, of battling patriarchy and an unequal society to realize one’s dreams and pave the way for other women in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.


Insightful, rich, and absorbing!

The Invincible Miss Cust is a beautifully written, fascinating interpretation that sweeps you away to England and Ireland between 1874 and 1922 and into the life of Aleen Isobel Cust from the loss of her father as a child and subsequent move from Ireland back to England, her struggle to be accepted and allowed to study at the New Veterinary College in Edinburgh, her enduring passion and love for the Emerald Isle and the animals that called its lush green fields home, and her final acceptance on the RCVS register in 1922.  

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are diligent, brave, and independent. And the plot is an absorbing tale of life, loss, love, friendship, familial drama, support, passion, courage, and the ins and outs of veterinary medicine in the late 1800s. 

Some of my favourite books of all time are those that remind us of the things that daily we often take for granted and yet were forged by strong, courageous, determined women who came before us and The Invincible Miss Cust is one of those. It’s a vivid, immersive, intriguing novel by Haw that does an exceptional job of highlighting her considerable knowledge and impressive research into this renowned iconic figure whose grit, hard work and perseverance had a tremendous impact on the world of veterinary surgery.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.




Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Penny Haw

Penny Haw worked as a journalist and columnist for more than three decades, writing for many leading South African newspapers and magazines before yielding to a lifelong yearning to create fiction. Her stories feature remarkable women, illustrate her love for nature, and explore the interconnectedness of all living things. The Invincible Miss Cust is Penny’s debut historical fiction. She lives near Cape Town with her husband and three dogs, all of whom are well-walked.