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The Book of Madness and Cures

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Dr. Gabriella Mondini, a strong-willed, young Venetian woman, has followed her father in the path of medicine. She possesses a singleminded passion for the art of physick, even though, in 1590, the male-dominated establishment is reluctant to accept a woman doctor. So when her father disappears on a mysterious journey, Gabriella's own status in the Venetian medical society Dr. Gabriella Mondini, a strong-willed, young Venetian woman, has followed her father in the path of medicine. She possesses a singleminded passion for the art of physick, even though, in 1590, the male-dominated establishment is reluctant to accept a woman doctor. So when her father disappears on a mysterious journey, Gabriella's own status in the Venetian medical society is threatened. Her father has left clues--beautiful, thoughtful, sometimes torrid, and often enigmatic letters from his travels as he researches his vast encyclopedia, The Book of Diseases. After ten years of missing his kindness, insight, and guidance, Gabriella decides to set off on a quest to find him--a daunting journey that will take her through great university cities, centers of medicine, and remote villages across Europe. Despite setbacks, wary strangers, and the menaces of the road, the young doctor bravely follows the clues to her lost father, all while taking notes on maladies and treating the ill to supplement her own work. Gorgeous and brilliantly written, and filled with details about science, medicine, food, and madness, The Book Of Madness And Cures is an unforgettable debut.


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Dr. Gabriella Mondini, a strong-willed, young Venetian woman, has followed her father in the path of medicine. She possesses a singleminded passion for the art of physick, even though, in 1590, the male-dominated establishment is reluctant to accept a woman doctor. So when her father disappears on a mysterious journey, Gabriella's own status in the Venetian medical society Dr. Gabriella Mondini, a strong-willed, young Venetian woman, has followed her father in the path of medicine. She possesses a singleminded passion for the art of physick, even though, in 1590, the male-dominated establishment is reluctant to accept a woman doctor. So when her father disappears on a mysterious journey, Gabriella's own status in the Venetian medical society is threatened. Her father has left clues--beautiful, thoughtful, sometimes torrid, and often enigmatic letters from his travels as he researches his vast encyclopedia, The Book of Diseases. After ten years of missing his kindness, insight, and guidance, Gabriella decides to set off on a quest to find him--a daunting journey that will take her through great university cities, centers of medicine, and remote villages across Europe. Despite setbacks, wary strangers, and the menaces of the road, the young doctor bravely follows the clues to her lost father, all while taking notes on maladies and treating the ill to supplement her own work. Gorgeous and brilliantly written, and filled with details about science, medicine, food, and madness, The Book Of Madness And Cures is an unforgettable debut.

30 review for The Book of Madness and Cures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    I received The Book of Madness and Cures through Netgalley for review – thanks to them and the publisher. I have to say I was disappointed with this book. I didn't really have expectations, per se; I think I've commented before about how odd it is to go into most Kindle books as blindly as I do. I rarely read a book right after acquiring it, so opening it up some time after having read the description that prompted me to buy it (or, in this case, request it), divorced of even the cover image, i I received The Book of Madness and Cures through Netgalley for review – thanks to them and the publisher. I have to say I was disappointed with this book. I didn't really have expectations, per se; I think I've commented before about how odd it is to go into most Kindle books as blindly as I do. I rarely read a book right after acquiring it, so opening it up some time after having read the description that prompted me to buy it (or, in this case, request it), divorced of even the cover image, is a strange feeling. But the The Book's writing held my attention from the beginning; I liked the tone, and the first-person narrator, Gabriella Mondini, and the setting, and the idea: Gabriella is the daughter of a doctor, and of a temperament and mind to follow him in his profession. However, she lives in 1590 Venice, and a woman doctor is – barely – tolerated only if a man sponsors her. Which is fine, while her father does so; but he left some ten years ago on a journey to – ostensibly – gather medicines from foreign climes along with data for the tremendous Book of Diseases he has spent Gabriella's lifetime compiling. His last letter makes it clear he's not likely to come back, and he orders Gabriella not to send after him – so of course, since she loves him and also since she cannot continue to practice medicine without him, she packs her bags and convinces her servants to come with her to go find him, leaving her fretful mother (think Mrs. Bennet, in a way) all alone without a qualm. A journey through Renaissance Europe is a great frame for a story. The quest for tales of unfamiliar diseases and cures is also promising. That the journey is undertaken by a woman, accompanied only by an elderly couple, and is also following in her father's footsteps – this was where the disappointment began to set in for me. I continued to enjoy the writing; I continued to like Gabriella; but somehow I wasn't entirely satisfied by the settings, the descriptions of which seemed to be dominated by the religious and climactic temperatures rather than the taste of different food and the smell of foreign scents and the feel of different air. Also, I admit the Italianization and Renaissancization (I know, I'm tired and making up words now, sorry) of countries' names took some getting used to. So much of the writing felt quite contemporary – especially with things like Gabriella mentioning that something was a meter away (or deep or wide) when the metric system was not (as best I can find) invented for another 150 years or so – that, in the exhausted stressed-out stupor in which I read this, the antiquated names threw me. Yes, it took ages for the lightbulb to go off that the next country the travelers were headed for was Scotland. Yes, I felt stupid when I realized. Gabriella is an intelligent woman, a tremendous boon to her father's work while she surreptitiously begins her own book, focusing more on women's ailments. She is Different, a creature utterly apart from the ordinary run of women, particularly in the time period. Which is why I felt let down by her. The fact that during two of the stops along the way she falls, to one extent or another, in love with a handy (and of course young and handsome) intellectual – this did not feel like it fit with the rest of her personality. The fate of one of those young men went nowhere; it was a somewhat far-fetched and disturbing incident, and I can't think of a thing it added to the book. The romance Gabriella eventually tumbles into felt almost grafted on, and the disruption it threatened to her search for her father offended me slightly; here she is, on a Mission to find her father, setting out to prove everyone wrong about the womanly stereotypes, and she is about to be thrown completely off her undertaking by a man? Sigh. Worse, though, for me, is the complete illogic of the search. The idea is that Gabriella and her father wrote to each other fairly regularly over the ten years he's been gone, and now she will try to find him by following the path described in those letters. But does she start with the most recent letter, the warmest scent, the freshest trail? Well, no. She starts at the very beginning and literally follows her father's path from place to place to place. In a way, this is a great way to tell the tale. As she visits the people her father stayed with and worked with ten years ago, and eight years ago, and so on, as in a few cases she gathers up items he left behind him, it begins to be obvious that he's not well. There's something very, very wrong – and not physically. She sees her father's deterioration as an unfolding story, a puzzle being completed piece by piece and place by place; if she had done the logical thing and started at the end she would have been confronted with the end result and the book would have been a third the length. But I wish her choice of journey had been presented as the logical thing. I wish there had been some reasoning for it: she only knew her father's first location, and only on talking to the people there could she learn his next stop, and the next, and so on to the end. Oh well. Anecdotes from Gabriella's Book of Diseases are dusted throughout the book, along with samplings of her father's letters and bits of his book – but unless I completely missed the point (always possible) there is no corollary made between them and the journey as far as I could see, and no purpose other than entertainment value. And in fact for me the entertainment value was, while certainly present, somewhat limited by the fact that the tales told were about half an inch away from being fairy tales. These stories – of a woman covered in hair, and another so severely claustrophobic she could no longer live in a house, and of the black tears shed by those prevented from speech for long periods … There are documented medical cases of some version of the first two conditions, at least, but these stories themselves were fantastical, despite the fact that at least some were supposed to be from the direct experience of Gabriella and her father. If there had been more of a magical aura about the rest of the story, I think I would have swallowed the whole thing happily. As it was, the only real unreality of Gabriella's quest was the unlikelihood that a woman and a pair of elderly servants would have as successful a journey as they do (even with the women dressed as men at times). The contrast between the pretty thoroughly mundane of Gabriella's narration and the fantasy of the so-scientific Books just stuck in my throat a little. The cap to the disappointment was in the ending. No spoilers here, but I felt there was at the same time a too-complete resolution and a complete lack of resolution to the story. It wrapped up too quickly and neatly while still leaving bits and small ends dangling annoyingly. Overall, it felt like a near miss.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Oh Dear.. I could begin with the positives, however few there are...but that would just put off the inevitable, that is, I really didn't like this book. Good, glad I got that out of the way. The premise was wonderful, everything was ticking my biblio boxes - the gorgeous cover, the Renaissance setting, a strong female character in a man's world, comparisons with Sarah Dunant and Tracy Chevalier - so where did it all go wrong? Well, the main problem for me was the extremely stilted prose (juxtapose Oh Dear.. I could begin with the positives, however few there are...but that would just put off the inevitable, that is, I really didn't like this book. Good, glad I got that out of the way. The premise was wonderful, everything was ticking my biblio boxes - the gorgeous cover, the Renaissance setting, a strong female character in a man's world, comparisons with Sarah Dunant and Tracy Chevalier - so where did it all go wrong? Well, the main problem for me was the extremely stilted prose (juxtaposed at times with modern slang??) which ended up stultifying what could have been a vibrant, gripping story. The characters were extremely nebulous - all I really recall about the leading lady was that she thought ill of someone with barely any teeth when she only had four teeth herself. I admire anyone who has the courage to put pen to paper and put their heart and soul into their writing but this really didn't move me. The whole reading experience was like watching one of those awful talent shows where you're just cringing waiting for the next bum note. It's not the worst novel I've ever read but it was extremely disappointing particularly when the blurb places the writing on a par with Dunant and Chevalier, two of my favourite authors. As the review title says - oh dear...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Ugh, this was so disappointing! I thought the premise was interesting, certainly subject matter which I have enjoyed reading in the past. Unfortunately, this was anything but enjoyable. The author's prose was wandering and convoluted, unpleasant to read at best. Gabriela was not interesting or even really likeable. I was curious as to what became of her father, but not enough to keep slogging through this. I made it to Chapter 17 before I couldn't stand torturing myself any longer. A friend recen Ugh, this was so disappointing! I thought the premise was interesting, certainly subject matter which I have enjoyed reading in the past. Unfortunately, this was anything but enjoyable. The author's prose was wandering and convoluted, unpleasant to read at best. Gabriela was not interesting or even really likeable. I was curious as to what became of her father, but not enough to keep slogging through this. I made it to Chapter 17 before I couldn't stand torturing myself any longer. A friend recently told me that she no longer suffers through an unpleasant book for the sake of 'finishing' because "life is too short to read bad books." I couldn't agree more. As ana aside, if you like the 'female healer/cunning woman in a man's world' genre, this is a much better representation of that: Mistress of the Art of Death

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sue Smith

    Geez I really enjoyed this book. It just flowed so nicely and I really liked how she painted with words. It's such a pleasure to read words and see them in your imagination or feel them and truly understand their experience from that deep down sunken knowledge of what it feels like. It sounds easy to do but what appears to be done effortlessly, usually isn't. And it's such a treat when you find a book that does it. I think my favorite line in the book was when the main character - Gabriella - wa Geez I really enjoyed this book. It just flowed so nicely and I really liked how she painted with words. It's such a pleasure to read words and see them in your imagination or feel them and truly understand their experience from that deep down sunken knowledge of what it feels like. It sounds easy to do but what appears to be done effortlessly, usually isn't. And it's such a treat when you find a book that does it. I think my favorite line in the book was when the main character - Gabriella - was watching a huge pod of dolphins come toward the ship she was travelling on and she felt so much unspoken joy while they 'sewed together the sea to the sky'. It's such a perfect metaphor for a dolphin racing alongside a vessel, don't you think?! It's such a visceral vision and speaks to the motion beautifully that it almost took my breath away. Anyways, enough of my driveling on about such things. I do tend to get carried away ..... especially when I find a book that's filled with such wonderful words! I liked this story actually. I decided to listen to the audio version of it on my daily commute and was well pleased with that choice. The narrator did a superb job ( not an easy task to be sure) and I'm sure it enhanced my enjoyment. I thought it was an interesting fictional peak at an early time of medicines and cures, specifically those that pertain to the health of the mind. You know it's based on some fact as to what was actually done and tried and you know the story is completely fictional, as are the various medical stories that our heroine and her father have come upon and recorded, but it feels all completely real. The blending of the two are done well and it makes for a wonderful read. It's a curious look into that fine line of sanity and insanity, genius and madness and facing a family trait of it face to face. The story is a journey, both physically and mentally, as a daughter searches for her father who has left his family on a questionable mission to find some illusive medicines, sending back letters that become more and more scattered and scrambled of thought and place and time. The journey is one of madness in itself, which becomes more and more pronounced as it progresses and makes you as a reader -peaking into this journey as it is made - wonder if the madness will manifest before your eyes. I won't spoil anything on this one - it's well worth the read! Even if it's just to enjoy the wonderful writing! With a wonderful treat of a great story to boot!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany PSquared

    ❝I'd grown transparent as the glass through which I peered, dangerously invisible even to myself. It was then I knew I must set my life in motion or I would disappear.❞ Gabriella sets out on a journey across the world to find her missing father. Along the way she also hopes to learn more about diseases and their cures - subjects that will only solidify her work as a doctor, her chosen profession. What I Liked: -Gabriella's fierce determination. She didn't have to be a doctor. Everyone was again ❝I'd grown transparent as the glass through which I peered, dangerously invisible even to myself. It was then I knew I must set my life in motion or I would disappear.❞ Gabriella sets out on a journey across the world to find her missing father. Along the way she also hopes to learn more about diseases and their cures - subjects that will only solidify her work as a doctor, her chosen profession. What I Liked: -Gabriella's fierce determination. She didn't have to be a doctor. Everyone was against it, even her own mother. However, she persevered in her profession and in her commitment to locating her missing father. -Gabriella was not a timid woman. She was a person of means, yes, but she also faced many trials that would have turned a less confident person back home. I admired her tenacity and her bravery in certain dangerous instances. -This was clearly a novel crafted by a poet. You get that sense in the descriptions of scenery that encompass all the senses. O'Melveny leaves nothing out; the reader can not only see where the characters are but taste, hear and smell it too. What I Didn't Like: -I know The Book of Diseases acted almost like another character in this story; however, I felt that the stories of maladies suffered by those she and her father had encountered were so far from reality and were rarely ever cured (or even treated) by the pair. What I Wanted More Of: -I anticipated that Gabriella would have done more work as a doctor along the way. The few times she actually did practice only left me wanting to read more about her skills as a true doctor, and not just a "student of physick." -I feel like the ending left me hanging on a thread in a sense. (view spoiler)[What happens with Hamish? Are they happy? How does her mother feel about her settling down with Hamish and about her new granddaughter? All of these questions were left hanging in the air. (hide spoiler)] I'm not sure what I expected when I first pulled the book from the shelf. And although it didn't fulfill all of my expectations, it was an interesting read with beautiful, poetic prose highlighting the story of a daring woman on a purposeful journey of love.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shomeret

    Now that I've read this book, I don't understand some statements I've seen from other readers here. I don't think the protagonist lost her way or her focus. I also don't think she lost herself as an independent woman and a physician either. I liked the ending very much. I thought it was the best possible resolution. Now that I've read this book, I don't understand some statements I've seen from other readers here. I don't think the protagonist lost her way or her focus. I also don't think she lost herself as an independent woman and a physician either. I liked the ending very much. I thought it was the best possible resolution.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett Rains

    I was so excited to finally receive The Book of Madness and Cures in the mail. It was a book I’d requested from the publisher and I was beside myself with excitement when it arrived. I love historical novels and, if you toss in a bit of medicinal lore sprinkled with early treatments for madness, you’ve got this clinician drooling! I couldn’t wait to read about the adventures of Gabriella Mondini: a 16th century Venetian physician determined to practice medicine during the Renaissance, when doing I was so excited to finally receive The Book of Madness and Cures in the mail. It was a book I’d requested from the publisher and I was beside myself with excitement when it arrived. I love historical novels and, if you toss in a bit of medicinal lore sprinkled with early treatments for madness, you’ve got this clinician drooling! I couldn’t wait to read about the adventures of Gabriella Mondini: a 16th century Venetian physician determined to practice medicine during the Renaissance, when doing so could be construed as heretical. Remember, most gals in the 16th century used needles for needlepoint, not suturing wounds! Gabriella’s unseemly interest in such manly things is tolerated by the physicians in Venice only because her father, a renowned physician, acts as her mentor. When he abandons her in pursuit of a personal quest, Gabriella is no longer permitted to practice the healing arts. The tale of her attempts to find her father, and complete their book of cures for madness, moves the story along. I could scarcely contain my excitement as I settled in for, what I was sure would be, a delightful read. It really should have been. All the requisite pieces for a perfect story were there, yet, the story fell flat. I regret to say that it just did not pull me in. The dialogue, in general, was stilted and the interactions between mistress and servant were unrealistic for the Renaissance period. Interesting case histories of patients suffering from madness are interjected sporadically throughout the book. All-in-all, the clinical feel of the writing was such that it left me removed from the supposed distress of the protagonist. Still, this is a debut novel and O’Melveny certainly has talent. Her next book, I’m sure, will flow more freely. This one, however, earned 3 of 5 hearts from this reviewer.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Another book for the elusive shelf... Gabriella Mondini is a female physician in Venice in the 16th century. The devoted student and assistant of her brilliant father for years she has become at least a tolerated presence in the physicians guild she and her father belong to and is even becoming well known particularly for her treatment of women. Over the years she and her father have devoted themselves to the creation of a book of diseases and their treatments and her father has been gone on a re Another book for the elusive shelf... Gabriella Mondini is a female physician in Venice in the 16th century. The devoted student and assistant of her brilliant father for years she has become at least a tolerated presence in the physicians guild she and her father belong to and is even becoming well known particularly for her treatment of women. Over the years she and her father have devoted themselves to the creation of a book of diseases and their treatments and her father has been gone on a research mission for the book for many years. The book begins with a visit from a representative of the guild who informs Gabriella that because of her father's long absence from the city, now going on ten years, she can no longer be concerned a physician and is being expelled from the guild. Furious and lost without the title she passionately believes is hers by right she takes her two loyal servants on a journey across Europe to trace her father's route to find him, bring him home and restore her own career. All she has to go by are the letters he has been writing over the years and her one hope is that one of the colleagues he visited over the years may know where he ended up. This certainly seems like it should be a set up for an exciting journey across the medieval world fraught with all the danger you'd expect a young woman in a man's world doing a man's job might encounter. Would that were true. What follows is a very long travelogue of Gabriella and her servants, her whiny probably too old for this trip maidservant and her typical wise sage husband, where she really runs into no trouble at all on the road (she has to dress as a boy at one point but no one actually like attacks her) is welcomed by either the local wise woman who puts her up for weeks at a time or a colleague of her father who also puts her up for weeks at a time. That's it. That's all that really happens. She travels, meets some sort of interesting people who are almost entirely forgettable because they're really just devices to get her from point A to point B and then goes on to the next location. Eventually she meets a guy and tracks down her dad and someone dies but its all very ho hum. And lets not forget the frankly obvious question that my own mother brought to my attention. Why in the world doesn't she just read the last letter he wrote and go right to wherever it was written from? Go mom. So why is this three stars then you ask? Because its all kind of weirdly beautiful and poetic. O'Melveny clearly researched the ever loving crap out of this book and the history of medieval medicine and the women who practiced it is totally interesting. She intersperses her chapters with fascinating "entries" from the Book of Diseases that are full of amazing descriptions of illnesses and treatments for things like "The Plague of Black Tears" or "Invidia" that sounds so beautiful its hard to imagine them causing death. There's an amazingly beautiful scene during one sojourn with one of her father's fellow doctor's where Gabariella attends a soiree where an audience of eager intelligentsia both men and women enjoy refreshments and the gentle playing of a small orchestra while a physician and his assistants carefully autopsies a corpse. There's an amazing link between spirituality and science that was clearly evident in medieval medical practices prior to the Middle Ages that I simply wasn't aware of. It was really rather remarkable to learn how closely linked the two were and how genuine and based in concrete fact much of medical science was even if they were given illnesses pretty names. You can actually see modern medicine being born. Its not all leaches and bleeding people. People were discovering things and making amazing breakthroughs. Unfortunately O'Melvaney chose to make all of this fascinating stuff background to what amounts to one boring medieval road trip. For all of her attention to detail when it comes to science her heroine is all but devoid of any actual personality. I wasn't even be entirely sure why it was so important that she find her father beyond needing him to provide her with credentials to practice medicine. She's very much a blank slate who talks about loving people or wanting emotional connections but doesn't exhibit any signs of actually having real desire or feelings about much of anything. Gabriella's one real redeeming trait isn't really about her its about how she's written. What I did appreciate is that O'Melvaney doesn't make her "a woman ahead of her time" a trope I absolutely HATE in historical fiction. Rather Gabriella is completely of her time. There really were women practicing medicine just like this and Gabriella isn't running around miraculously curing cancer while all the evil priests try to burn her at the stake she's moving right along with the time, believing all the same loony stuff all the other doctors think and using maggots to clean wounds right along with them. She's also boring. And consequently her very, very long story is too. So I don't know. If you've got a passing curiosity about medieval medicine the author absolutely did her research and you'll certainly learn something. If you're looking for a juicy historical mystery I'm afraid you are sadly out of luck. For whatever reasons this did hold my interest and I readily admit to looking up quite a few things that I certainly would not have otherwise sought out. But riveting, plot driven reading this ain't.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bryn Greenwood

    Wow there are some weirdly hostile reviews about this book that leave me puzzled. It’s an easy enough read, as meandering as you might expect from a quest type book. Not sure what the frothing 1-star ratings are about, but I will say if you’re put off by formal prose or meandering quests or being able to see the mechanics of the plot a bit too clearly, maybe not worth the bother. That said, it was interesting enough bedtime reading, especially as I found the descriptions of the various maladies Wow there are some weirdly hostile reviews about this book that leave me puzzled. It’s an easy enough read, as meandering as you might expect from a quest type book. Not sure what the frothing 1-star ratings are about, but I will say if you’re put off by formal prose or meandering quests or being able to see the mechanics of the plot a bit too clearly, maybe not worth the bother. That said, it was interesting enough bedtime reading, especially as I found the descriptions of the various maladies & their cures amusing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kiersten

    This book was so hilariously bad. And it's not just a matter of misplaced expectations; after reading the description, I knew it wasn't going to be great, but I'm a sucker for lush European settings, and the book promised to gallivant across Europe, and beyond. Basically I was hoping for a little escapism and some pretty scenery. Well, it turns out that I should have just picked up a Rick Steves guidebook. His writing's better, and truth be told, there is probably a lot more plot in Europe Throu This book was so hilariously bad. And it's not just a matter of misplaced expectations; after reading the description, I knew it wasn't going to be great, but I'm a sucker for lush European settings, and the book promised to gallivant across Europe, and beyond. Basically I was hoping for a little escapism and some pretty scenery. Well, it turns out that I should have just picked up a Rick Steves guidebook. His writing's better, and truth be told, there is probably a lot more plot in Europe Through the Back Door than there is in The Book of Madness and Cures. So let's start with the plot, what little there is (seriously. This won't take long): Gabriella, a 30-year-old unmarried doctor from Renaissance Venice leaves on a grand tour of Europe in search of her father, who has been missing for a decade. She brings along two middle-aged (elderly by the day's standards) servants and a seemingly bottomless bag of gold ducats and they set off with only her father's letters as a guide. Now don't worry; you might think that a woman traveling with a bag of money and only her two old servants as companions will run into some trouble on the way, but pretty much the only thing that happens is that Gabriella almost drowns after she falls off her horse while stubbornly trying to cross through a flooded lake, despite the warnings received from fellow travelers. (Question: why couldn't she have just gone through the unflooded parts of the village? Clearly there was another path or she couldn't have been rescued by that pervy old doctor and his friends.) And basically that's it. Oh, and there's a random bear attack in there as well. But plot-wise, that's all. The frustrating thing is that the author had opportunities to make something, anything!, happen. Like in the town where all the women and girls were taken away on suspicion of witchcraft. ALL the women and girls. That's interesting! Something could have happened there! But instead Gabriella just shoved her hair under a hat and passed through the village without any meaningful interaction with the townspeople whatsoever. Basically, if O'Melveny had written The Odyssey, it would read like this: "Odysseus missed his wife so he got a boat and sailed for a really, really long time. And then he kept sailing...still sailing. And then there was this lady who turned everyone into pigs, but not Odysseus, because then I'd have to figure out a way for him to escape. And then there was some more sailing and then a big whirlpool and a monster with a bunch of heads and, oh! And there was a cyclops back there, and a lot of super sexy women were in love with Odysseus for no discernible reason, and some of them died, and Odysseus was sad but not very. And then he got home but his wife was crazy and she died. But that's okay because he met another super hot lady and they had sex in the library and she had a baby the end." Did I mention the sex in the library? Yeah, that happened. As if this were an episode of Friends or that cheesy Julia Stiles movie with the Danish guy. And of course she got pregnant, and of course she didn't realize it for FOREVER (being a doctor and a WOMAN you'd think she'd pick up on the signs, but no), and of course no one had a problem with it, because she was apparently transported without her knowledge to 21st Century America where no one cares about those things, instead of 16th Century Morocco, where I really think they kind of did. Oh, and the library guy happened like six seconds after this other guy randomly got killed and put on a dissecting slab after he followed her from Germany to The Netherlands out of love. Apparently Renaissance guys really went for moody, obsessive, wandering spinster doctors with butch haircuts. (She finally cut it after it exposed her as a woman in front of an angry mob of woman-haters. And even then nothing interesting happened). Oh and then there's this: why, if Gabriella was so determined to find her father, did she start looking for him in Germany, the place he first went to ten years earlier, instead of in Africa, where the more recent letters were from? I know that O'Melveny slips in the fact that Gabriella didn't always receive the letters in the order in which they were sent, but she somehow managed to organize them enough that she followed her father's footsteps in perfect chronological order anyway. The unordered letters thing was a pretty weak plot device for sending someone traipsing around half the civilized world. So anyway, if you're looking for a book with a plot like Swiss cheese minus the flavor, then this one's for you. Happy reading.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Where I got the book: e-ARC from NetGalley. This was one of those lyrical novels where the words outshine the plot. Plot, indeed, was thin on the ground: Gabriella, a doctor of medicine in an era where women simply were not doctors, goes in search of her missing father. The search, naturally, takes her into all kinds of places and dangers. Smells, touch, taste, sight: lots of detail here. Beautifully painted scenes using carefully chosen words. The scene where Gabriella watches a dissection only t Where I got the book: e-ARC from NetGalley. This was one of those lyrical novels where the words outshine the plot. Plot, indeed, was thin on the ground: Gabriella, a doctor of medicine in an era where women simply were not doctors, goes in search of her missing father. The search, naturally, takes her into all kinds of places and dangers. Smells, touch, taste, sight: lots of detail here. Beautifully painted scenes using carefully chosen words. The scene where Gabriella watches a dissection only to realize...well, I won't spoil it...was very good indeed, and I could have done with more of that kind of writing. If anything, this book reminded me of The Name of the Rose, but it lacked the intricacy of plot that made the latter compelling. If you've seen the movie of The Name of the Rose, you'll understand what I mean when I talk about the poetically gruesome evocations to which depictions of the medieval and Renaissance periods lend themselves, a sort of chiaraoscuro of words and images; this novel has them in spades, but not enough underlying structure to bring it up to Eco's standard.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Fascinating look at 16th century Italian woman physician; she seemed like more of a herbalist. Gabriella Mondini's father, a physician himself, behaves oddly and just decides to go wandering one day. He leaves his wife and daughter in Venetia [Venice]. After Gabriella is finally barred from the physicians' guild since she is a female with no mentor, she decides to trace out her father's journey, using as clues, letters he has written her from foreign parts these last ten years. She hopes to find Fascinating look at 16th century Italian woman physician; she seemed like more of a herbalist. Gabriella Mondini's father, a physician himself, behaves oddly and just decides to go wandering one day. He leaves his wife and daughter in Venetia [Venice]. After Gabriella is finally barred from the physicians' guild since she is a female with no mentor, she decides to trace out her father's journey, using as clues, letters he has written her from foreign parts these last ten years. She hopes to find him and bring him home, although the last letter she has received says he is never coming back. She sets off with two servants. Their search takes them to Padua, Switzerland, the Black Forest area of Germany, Tübingen, Holland, Scotland, France, Spain, Mauritania [North Africa] and comes full circle to Venetia. The three have many adventures on the way-- such as losing their horse and mules in Lake Constance, a bear attack and death of her manservant. She loses her medicine chest, then it is almost miraculously returned to her. She witnesses an autopsy. The Rembrandt is an example although a generation later than the story: http://www.rembrandthuis.nl/en/rembra... You might have to scroll down to see the portrait. Her father had been writing a "Book of Diseases" but she keeps her own notes; as the novel progresses, the "case histories" become more and more bizarre, from the recognizable, such as depression, to ones completely outlandish: Blue Earworms. These seem to reflect her father's descent into madness. I enjoyed this story of a strong woman and learned a lot about the social customs and about physicians of this period. Some things were implausible, e.g., how the trio could journey all over Europe without being set upon by thieves. Her father's story was sad, but I thought the ending upbeat.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    MY THOUGHTS LOVED IT As something of an oddity, Gabriella has been trained by her father to be a physician and she has found a true calling where she can minister to other women during the 16th century. Unfortunately, she can no longer practice in male dominated Venice since her father has disappeared. The story follows Gabriella throughout Europe as she follows her father's letters to different countries and to his friend's homes. During her travels, she finds more knowledge about medicine and bi MY THOUGHTS LOVED IT As something of an oddity, Gabriella has been trained by her father to be a physician and she has found a true calling where she can minister to other women during the 16th century. Unfortunately, she can no longer practice in male dominated Venice since her father has disappeared. The story follows Gabriella throughout Europe as she follows her father's letters to different countries and to his friend's homes. During her travels, she finds more knowledge about medicine and bits and pieces of what happened to her father. The ending will really catch you off guard even though each page lead to this conclusion. The writing is just perfect and historically correct with enough detail and dialogue as to not be bogged down by being overly descriptive. What shocked me most about the story is how women were mistreated and abused by male physicians during this time period. The conditions they endured were truly horrifying and almost akin to rape! What we take for granted in modern medicine certainly didn't exist in this time period. I was so happy to read about one of my favorite time periods and from a female point of view. Fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir should really enjoy this debut.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Serene Morticia

    3/3.5 stars I really liked this novel - it was radiant and tranquil in its plot and left me feeling buoyant after reading.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Boler

    The Author Who Lost Her Way The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny (Little, Brown and Company; 336 pages; $25.99) Life in sixteenth-century Venetia is becoming tenuous, at least for women doctors, in Regina O'Melveny's uneven historical novel The Book of Madness and Cures. There are very few of them, and many look at them with contempt. Perhaps those who most scorn these physicians are male doctors. The true reason behind their disdain is the simple fact that they feel threatened by the The Author Who Lost Her Way The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny (Little, Brown and Company; 336 pages; $25.99) Life in sixteenth-century Venetia is becoming tenuous, at least for women doctors, in Regina O'Melveny's uneven historical novel The Book of Madness and Cures. There are very few of them, and many look at them with contempt. Perhaps those who most scorn these physicians are male doctors. The true reason behind their disdain is the simple fact that they feel threatened by these women. Such is the case for Dr. Gabriella Mondini. The medical guild has expelled her from their membership. You see, a female doctor must have a male mentor to vouch for her, restrain her, and stay those womanly impulses. Can you feel my sarcasm? Gabriella treats female patients who are more comfortable being looked at by a woman. She is very good at what she does. She learned medicine from her father. Dr. E.B. Mondini, though, is AWOL. He left Venetia ten years before the story begins to work on his magnum opus, The Book of Diseases. Gabriella's father has roamed around Europe all this time. He writes home infrequently. His letters are undated and grow increasingly stranger and stranger over time. It seems very unlikely that Gabriella's father will ever return. His long absence becomes problematic for Gabriella only when it affects her professionally. His weird letters do not raise red flags for Gabriella for ten years. But one day, the guild comes to her and says she is no longer allowed to practice. This is a crushing blow to her. The edict is especially hard because Gabriella loves treating patients and is quite a student of medicine. She never stops learning and is always eager to hear of illnesses and cures. Gabriella, though, is unmarried, a fact her mother laments often: "Bear children. Why not marry a good doctor? Why must you be one?" Medicine is Gabriella's spouse ever since the love of her life died from plague several years ago. Medicine has been a salve for her broken heart. Now medicine is lost to her. She zeroes in only then on her father. If she can find him and bring him home, she will be readmitted to the Guild. Gabriella is only interested in what he can do for her. Her anger over his disappearance is palpable, and it has been two years since his last letter. Her life in Venetia "is a prison." This stunning revelation is all the impetus she needs. "I can no longer practice medicine there, and my father's last letter proved a fine gadfly, stinging me to change things as they are," Gabriella reveals. So she decides to go look for her father. Accompanied by two trustworthy servants, she will travel to the places from which her father posted his letters and will stay with his colleagues in those towns and villages. She then sets off on a quest to find him, but her journey is nothing Joseph Campbell would appreciate. However, I do not fault Gabriella. The real fault lies with O'Melveny. There is so much early promise in The Book of Madness and Cures. Gabriella is a character who defies convention. O'Melveny's character development of Gabriella is initially strong but falters in the middle and then eventually weakens in the end. I do not buy that such an original, unconventional woman would have a baby and marry in the end. O'Melveny must be championing Gabriella as an early pioneer of the feminist movement when she gives her choices. The real problem with this novel is the plot. Obstacles delay Gabriella's journey at every turn. I do not buy this. O'Melveny seeks to draw out the story, but her tactic is tiresome. I understand that she must stall or she would have no book. However, O'Melveny forgets the premise for the tale: to find Dr. Mondini. Instead, Gabriella and her servants gallivant around Europe and enjoy history and the scenery. Including history is good, especially since this is historical fiction. I love two things O'Melveny did. The first is illuminating how dangerous travel for a woman was in some European countries in the sixteenth century. A village through which Gabriella and her servants travel has no women. A man explains the church rounded all of the women up on suspicion of witchcraft. This was a common charge against women during this era and a nice addition to the story. Gabriella fears for her life, she is a woman and a doctor after all, so she cuts her hair and dresses like a man. I told you she defies convention. Too bad O'Melveny does not stick with this. The second thing O'Melveny does that I love is she portrays how much of sixteenth-century Europe was a place in between eras. Many people, like it or not, still believed in the old medieval superstitions. Magic and potions ruled the day. The great Italian cities might be enjoying a Renaissance in art, music, architecture, and politics, but the common people knew little of this. They were still stuck in the past. The Age of Reason and the science of medicine were just beginning. But O'Melveny shows how people still fought while they dined and even injured each other with the fork. Passages which highlighted the above are brilliant but, sadly, few. Indeed, the sad and frustrated reader will want more. Especially where it concerns the missing Dr. Mondini. O'Melveny alludes to an illness, the "family madness," that he may or may not have. She suggests her is a lunatic and that the phases of the moon affect him. At times, I worry if he will howl at the moon or something. His malady is just too vague. When Gabriella finds her father's glasses and shoes that he left behind, the mystery only deepens. More explanation is needed. The same is true for the death of a man who Gabriella meets on her journey. Wilhelm Lochner's murder is another thread the author leaves hanging. I cannot recommend The Book of Madness and Cures. O'Melveny loses her way in this novel and the plot suffers. The characters suffer. However, there is no reason for you, dear reader, to endure this painful read. If this time period interests you, try Sarah Dunant's In the Company of the Courtesan.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

    I opened this without having no idea what to expect - the blurb sounded interesting, but while years ago, historical fiction at least made some pretense at recreating an era and its sensibilities, in recent times I saw way too many corny books with 21st century sensibilities transposed into historical fiction novels, making such just costume-pron... However The Book of madness and Cures gets down into the gutters to a large extent and we see some realities of the 1590's (common childbirth deaths, I opened this without having no idea what to expect - the blurb sounded interesting, but while years ago, historical fiction at least made some pretense at recreating an era and its sensibilities, in recent times I saw way too many corny books with 21st century sensibilities transposed into historical fiction novels, making such just costume-pron... However The Book of madness and Cures gets down into the gutters to a large extent and we see some realities of the 1590's (common childbirth deaths, comparatively few children surviving their first few months or years, plague, dirt, filth..) and the heroine and her travails are believable to a large extent. Where I felt the book missed its focus is in the romance part which had no sizzle - the name of the male love interest is pretty ridiculous and kind of made me groan or laugh when the heroine kept mentioning it, while the actual romance was both predetermined from the the first glimpse (the hero is gallant, waits and helps the heroine much more than duty bound etc...) and read like "covered this point, next..." The panorama of the 16th century Europe and N. Africa is good though and the book is worth reading for that

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This was a first reads book. I am sorry it took me so long to review; my husband died and, well, all that comes with that. I was very excited to have won this book. But like others have commented upon, it really just fell flat. I loved the title...The Book of Madness and Cures...kind of tingly. But I found the characters one dimensional and not very believable. How convenient that Gabi just happens to speak every single language that she needs on her journey. And the story kind of just plodded al This was a first reads book. I am sorry it took me so long to review; my husband died and, well, all that comes with that. I was very excited to have won this book. But like others have commented upon, it really just fell flat. I loved the title...The Book of Madness and Cures...kind of tingly. But I found the characters one dimensional and not very believable. How convenient that Gabi just happens to speak every single language that she needs on her journey. And the story kind of just plodded along and then DISASTER, more plodding, DISASTER, more plodding, BEAR. (I’m sorry, but did anyone else laugh at the bear? There just happened to be a bear? Really?) And for a small group of travelers with no guide and a well-born lady, they were not set upon by anything worse than a bear? I read three other books in the time it took me to finish this one; I finally had to just set a task to finish it all at once. All in all, it had a great premise, but could have been fleshed out a bit. And do away with the bear. There are lots more plausible ways to dispose of a character than a random bear.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    While the flower-y language had me wondering, the knowledgeable telling of the travels around old Europe in the late 1500s of a devoted daughter seeking her long-absent father drew me into, and along, the difficult journey. Many topics were handled by the writer with ease and expertise including, the strict class structure, discrimination against females and certain religions, the conflict between proven home remedies and the medical establishment of the day, lost loves, sexual indiscretion, and While the flower-y language had me wondering, the knowledgeable telling of the travels around old Europe in the late 1500s of a devoted daughter seeking her long-absent father drew me into, and along, the difficult journey. Many topics were handled by the writer with ease and expertise including, the strict class structure, discrimination against females and certain religions, the conflict between proven home remedies and the medical establishment of the day, lost loves, sexual indiscretion, and mental illness. This was a most interesting read from which I walked away a wiser person. Ms. O'Melveny receives my enthusiastic congratulations on a very good first novel and one that I will recommend to my friends. I received a free copy of "The Book of Madness and Cures" from Goodreads Firstreads.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Maine

    Strong book. Likely to appeal to fans of literary historical fiction, esp with strong female leads, such as The Birth of Venus, the books of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier, and the likes of Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. not quite up to that level, but close, and an engaging storyline that converts the narrator's search for her father into a naturally propulsive storyline. Some very moving moments, and the Renaissance milieu is well recreated as well. Good work all round. Strong book. Likely to appeal to fans of literary historical fiction, esp with strong female leads, such as The Birth of Venus, the books of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier, and the likes of Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. not quite up to that level, but close, and an engaging storyline that converts the narrator's search for her father into a naturally propulsive storyline. Some very moving moments, and the Renaissance milieu is well recreated as well. Good work all round.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    What this story presents on book’s leaflet, it does not reflect in the book. The introduction of the main heroine is just done on the leaflet. The book already starts with her father disappearance and her ‘detective work.’ I was expecting a story of “a brilliant young woman who possesses something rare in the Venice of 1590: the access, learning, and intuition to become a doctor.” I was looking for the atmosphere of 16th century Venice and a young woman’s journey of becoming a doctor, but instea What this story presents on book’s leaflet, it does not reflect in the book. The introduction of the main heroine is just done on the leaflet. The book already starts with her father disappearance and her ‘detective work.’ I was expecting a story of “a brilliant young woman who possesses something rare in the Venice of 1590: the access, learning, and intuition to become a doctor.” I was looking for the atmosphere of 16th century Venice and a young woman’s journey of becoming a doctor, but instead it turns out to be her search for her father with interjections of her story. Also, the prose leaves a lot to wish for.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    This fictional journey through Renaissance Europe was quite enjoyable. The heroine was strong, intelligent, and well-developed; Gabriella was honestly my favorite part of this novel. I was also fascinated by the glimpse into various maladies and their early remedies! While the language was, at times, overly simplistic (which was surprising due to the author’s reputation as a published poet), the dialogue was fantastic and engaging. There was also enough suspense and adventure to keep the story m This fictional journey through Renaissance Europe was quite enjoyable. The heroine was strong, intelligent, and well-developed; Gabriella was honestly my favorite part of this novel. I was also fascinated by the glimpse into various maladies and their early remedies! While the language was, at times, overly simplistic (which was surprising due to the author’s reputation as a published poet), the dialogue was fantastic and engaging. There was also enough suspense and adventure to keep the story moving steadily. Overall, this was time well spent with memorable traveling companions. 🗺⛰

  22. 5 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    I just couldn't stay focused on the audiobook. I think I would have liked the paper version better. I just couldn't stay focused on the audiobook. I think I would have liked the paper version better.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Georgette

    Gabriella is a woman practicing the forbidden(for a woman, in that time) art of medicine in 16th century Venice. She's been practicing the art under the tutelage and guidance of her dad, a respected physician, for years. She's also been working on a book of diseases and cures with him. However, her father leaves on a sudden, mysterious trip and stays gone for ten years. Finally, Gabriella can take no more, and sets off in pursuit of her missing father. All she's armed with are a cache of old let Gabriella is a woman practicing the forbidden(for a woman, in that time) art of medicine in 16th century Venice. She's been practicing the art under the tutelage and guidance of her dad, a respected physician, for years. She's also been working on a book of diseases and cures with him. However, her father leaves on a sudden, mysterious trip and stays gone for ten years. Finally, Gabriella can take no more, and sets off in pursuit of her missing father. All she's armed with are a cache of old letters, her servants Olmina and Lorenzo, and her medicine chest with various poultices and herbs. She travels through nightmare after nightmare, losing Lorenzo and a possible suitor to untimely and tragic deaths, baring the elements, fighting with Olmina about her continuing onward with the journey despite evidence that her father may be gone forever, and her own battle with her health and her doubts over the entire situation. Gabriella goes all over Italy, to the Netherlands, and she finally ends up in Morocco. Olmina, grief-stricken over her husband's passing, goes home to Venice without Gabriella, who forges on alone, despite her health issues, which are quickly solved and forgotten as Gabriella discovers where her father has been and what has happened to keep him away all these years. To have something happen to someone you love, after you've been reading and writing about it in letters that your father had left, well, it just leaves a big hole in your heart for Gabriella, as the story reaches its stunning conclusion. It's not all happy, but Gabriella is a great female lead. You see her doubts, her tears, her strength and determination to not accept hearsay about her father without seeing and knowing for herself what happened, and her sadness over losing people she cares greatly about, in order to find a resolution and closure. This book is awesome on so many levels, not the least of which is Regina O'Melveny's beautiful use of language. I think the last time I read a book with such beautiful language was Sheri Holman's Dress Lodger, and that was back in 1999. She has a compelling way of drawing you into the story, even when much of the book is correspondence between the silent voice of her absent father and Gabriella. It's not an action-filled story, it's more of an emotional story, written in stunning detail and great emotional depth. The only thing that I would have a slight question/issue with is- Gabriella's already fragile relationship with her mother(her mother disapproved of the bond between Gabriella and her father, which was built largely on the grounds of practicing medicine together. Basically, in today's lingo, her mom wanted her to be a wife, mother, and obedient housewife/homemaker. Instead of a shrinking violet, she got a vibrant rose). Once she leaves to search for her father, Gabriella's mother basically disowns her, and there's an exchange of letters between the two, and then it gets dropped. When you find out at the end what happened with her father, they never address the mother's reaction, or how her and Gabriella's relationship proceeded after her return to Venice. I think there may have been some further storyline anarchy there that wasn't explored. It seems as if she was just written out of the story completely after Gabriella's last letter to her. I think that was kind of a shame, because there was so much ground that wasn't explored there. However, that is my only complaint. This book was fantastic, definitely one of my favorites so far in 2012.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Danelle

    Gabriella Mondini, a woman who practices medicine in 16th century Venice, was taught, encouraged, and mentored by her father. A renowned physician, he left Venice 10 years prior on a journey to research for his Book of Diseases. Now, gone for a decade, Gabriella has lost her privileges to practice medicine and treat patients. Upset at this and worried about her father, Gabriella and two servants set out on a trek across Europe to try to find him. Their trek is long, arduous, and crosses many bor Gabriella Mondini, a woman who practices medicine in 16th century Venice, was taught, encouraged, and mentored by her father. A renowned physician, he left Venice 10 years prior on a journey to research for his Book of Diseases. Now, gone for a decade, Gabriella has lost her privileges to practice medicine and treat patients. Upset at this and worried about her father, Gabriella and two servants set out on a trek across Europe to try to find him. Their trek is long, arduous, and crosses many borders. They have only her father's letters, which became fewer, shorter, and less coherent as his absence grew longer, to guide their way. The auther, Regina O'Melveny, has a deft way with words and The Book of Madness and Cures is written prettily. Prior to this novel, O'Melveny has published poetry and that lends itself well to the descriptions of the Renaissance time period. The Book of Madness and Cures is a good story of a daughter's search for her father, but I felt that overall it fell flat. The "mystery" aspect of the story wasn't really mysterious at all (though her sudden 'activities' with Hamish in the library were - I mean, this is the late 1500's!). I guess I was expecting something more sinister in regards to the story overall - especially after what befell Wilhelm (and even now I wonder at his demise and the actual necessity of it in regards to the plot). It seemed cobbled together. I mean, the whole idea of the study of madness and the interesting little snippets from Gabriella and her father's writing and notes was promising; it just wasn't as interesting as it could have been. If you are looking for something easy and "chick-lit-y", this is the book for you. If you want a book that's historical fiction with a woman protagonist who's also outwitting the men that is more of a mystery/thriller, then you should check out Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death series. I received this book through the goodreads first reads giveaway.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Really thought I'd found a winner with this one: a trip through Renaissance Europe, with a female doctor as narrator. I was looking forward to a lot of descriptions of different peoples and places, and some interesting medical lore. Instead I got a narrator who is so wrapped up in various handsome men that she meets, and her very clearly crazy and hard-to-love absent father, that she barely finds time to mention that the Black Forest is tree-filled and Holland has canals that freeze in winter. T Really thought I'd found a winner with this one: a trip through Renaissance Europe, with a female doctor as narrator. I was looking forward to a lot of descriptions of different peoples and places, and some interesting medical lore. Instead I got a narrator who is so wrapped up in various handsome men that she meets, and her very clearly crazy and hard-to-love absent father, that she barely finds time to mention that the Black Forest is tree-filled and Holland has canals that freeze in winter. The narrator purports to be a strong woman breaking through her society's conventions, but actually is just a self-absorbed, boy-crazy neurotic. All that said, the author clearly has a way with words; her poetry is probably marvelous. Perhaps she should stick to it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    I really wish I could say that I liked this more and in parts I did. Gabriella was an interesting character and the book involves a search for her father, travels throughout many different regions, medicinal herbs, a family history of madness and the practice of a woman doctor. Also it takes place in the 16th century and starts out in Venice. Yet parts of it were stagnant, parts were brilliant, and parts were just so so. Still the historical data was fascinating and I did like Gabriela herself a I really wish I could say that I liked this more and in parts I did. Gabriella was an interesting character and the book involves a search for her father, travels throughout many different regions, medicinal herbs, a family history of madness and the practice of a woman doctor. Also it takes place in the 16th century and starts out in Venice. Yet parts of it were stagnant, parts were brilliant, and parts were just so so. Still the historical data was fascinating and I did like Gabriela herself and I did love the title so an okay read for me. I just wish it had been more consistent throughout.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kammie

    I have wanted to read this for some time and am excited to have won it from First Reads!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dyan Phillips

    This book was OK. I got impatient and frustrated with the plot. And I admit, I did skip ahead to see how it ended with her search for her father. Something I do more often these days. Life is short and there are so many books to read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Weatherbie

    so/so? Is that a review? This Novel sounded great, 1500 century medicine, female physician but it all just fell flat for me. I just wanted more of something.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dbvdb

    I liked the writing, the journey itself, and the descriptions about "the way things were" historically. I didn't appreciate the romance bit in addition to the search for the father - it puts her focus mostly on males. I would have liked to hear more about her medical practice. I do recommend it though! I liked the writing, the journey itself, and the descriptions about "the way things were" historically. I didn't appreciate the romance bit in addition to the search for the father - it puts her focus mostly on males. I would have liked to hear more about her medical practice. I do recommend it though!

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