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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 suturin 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.


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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 suturin 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.

30 review for The Girl in His Shadow

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Historical fiction fans, I have a timely, well-written, and immersive story for you. Nora lost her parents during the pandemic and is raised by Dr. Horace Croft, a quirky surgeon. She is not raised traditionally. Instead, she is taught the skills of a doctor. At the time it is a crime for women to practice medicine; however, Nora easily becomes Dr. Croft’s best assistant until a new resident arrives and threatens her role. It forces Nora to let go of some of her responsibility in the practice. No Historical fiction fans, I have a timely, well-written, and immersive story for you. Nora lost her parents during the pandemic and is raised by Dr. Horace Croft, a quirky surgeon. She is not raised traditionally. Instead, she is taught the skills of a doctor. At the time it is a crime for women to practice medicine; however, Nora easily becomes Dr. Croft’s best assistant until a new resident arrives and threatens her role. It forces Nora to let go of some of her responsibility in the practice. Nothing stops her, though, and when she makes a landmark medical discovery, she has big choices to make between two lives. From the prologue, I knew I was going to love this book. The writing is silky smooth and the descriptions, including all the medical terms, are all so fascinating. This book inspired me and made me want to act. The Girl in His Shadow is an exceptional read I could gush about all day. I give it five stars. My interest never waned. I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    3.5 stars This is a perfectly decent woman-ahead-of-her-time historical fiction novel. Lately I’ve moved away from historical fiction, finding it less convincing than I used to, and I find this particular type of story rather cookie-cutter, but it made an interesting complement to recent nonfiction reading about science and medicine in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Apparently 2021 is the year for books about pioneering 19th century female physicians, with The Doctors Blackwell and Women in W 3.5 stars This is a perfectly decent woman-ahead-of-her-time historical fiction novel. Lately I’ve moved away from historical fiction, finding it less convincing than I used to, and I find this particular type of story rather cookie-cutter, but it made an interesting complement to recent nonfiction reading about science and medicine in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Apparently 2021 is the year for books about pioneering 19th century female physicians, with The Doctors Blackwell and Women in White Coats also published this year. It’s also fun that the celebrated surgeon who mentors the heroine is based in part on John Hunter, whose biography, The Knife Man, is absolutely worth a read. As for the plot, in 1840s London, Nora is a young woman raised by an eccentric surgeon and his housekeeper, and by dint of making herself useful has wound up informally apprenticing in the profession herself. But her practice is illegal and socially taboo, and she is challenged by the arrival of two attractive young male surgeons and a situation that pushes her into performing a groundbreaking surgery, risking public exposure. The authors are good storytellers, and I found this book entertaining and enjoyable, although it never breaks the mold. The characters are sympathetic, though I found Nora a rather generic young-woman-interested-in-science-but-also-love. The other point-of-view character, Daniel, I found perhaps more endearing because his experiences of awkwardness and embarrassment and being over his head are so relatable. The eccentric Dr. Croft is plain fun, and I particularly enjoyed the gleeful joy and fellowship with which the characters conduct their wildly irregular scientific investigations (in typical form for their day). The authors do a startlingly good job, especially for recent fiction, of making the male characters men of their time without making them villains. The men in Nora’s immediate circle support her and believe in her talents, but they also have doubts about her proper role and kind of want her to stay home and iron their shirts, and that conflict is handled with nuance. But in other ways it’s a bit frustrating that this book doesn’t feel more informed by the representation-related criticisms of the last decade. Nora is an Exceptional Woman, explicitly stated several times to be Not Like Other Women, if only by the accident of having been raised very differently. All other women in the book are portrayed as stultifyingly conventional, and in fact the only other woman in Nora’s life at all is the stern-but-motherly housekeeper, who has a secondary role. I know some women in male-dominated fields really do feel this isolated from other women, and the fact that this type of experience has been way overrepresented in fiction doesn’t mean authors should stop writing it altogether. But it’s not representative of the actual 19th century female medical pioneers (or I would guess the authors, since two women wrote this book together!). And it might feel a bit more believable and nuanced if Nora noticed her isolation from other women, which she doesn’t particularly. Otherwise, there’s a lot of detail about medicine and surgery in the 1840s, which I found interesting and engaging; the authors have clearly done their research, down to reading actual medical journals from the time. It’s an interesting time for surgery, with anesthesia being conceived of for the first time (most of the surgeries in the book, however, are performed without it). The story flows well and kept me wanting to know what happens next; it doesn’t go too far down the love-triangle route, though it teases the idea; and the end at least feels satisfying to a modern reader, not sweeping institutionalized sexism or Nora’s own professional aspirations under the rug of romance. The romance is still perhaps a larger part of the book than it needs to be, but it’s written well enough and that is how this type of book tends to go. Overall then, a good choice for those who enjoy woman-ahead-of-her-time historical fiction, or would like to see a slice of 1840s medicine come to life. It didn’t rock my world, but I enjoyed my time with it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I was going to love this book. It immediately pulled me in. Set in London in the 1840's. Nora Beady, a young girl who has lost her family to Cholera, is rescued and taken in by Dr. Horace Croft. Being raised in the home of a surgeon, Nora's interests are very much related to the world of medicine. As Nora grows and her interests remain the same, she is taught to be a medical assistant to Dr. Croft during surgeries and research experiments. Unfortunately, duri As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I was going to love this book. It immediately pulled me in. Set in London in the 1840's. Nora Beady, a young girl who has lost her family to Cholera, is rescued and taken in by Dr. Horace Croft. Being raised in the home of a surgeon, Nora's interests are very much related to the world of medicine. As Nora grows and her interests remain the same, she is taught to be a medical assistant to Dr. Croft during surgeries and research experiments. Unfortunately, during this time in history a woman practicing medicine was unheard of and the consequences if caught were extreme. When Dr. Daniel Gibson, a new surgical resident arrives, Nora is forced to hide her talents or risk being caught. But with suffering patients, that's easier said than done... I truly adore Historical Fiction, and the fact this book was set in the 1800s was such a win. I really enjoy reading about that time period. The Girl in His Shadow is such a fascinating read. Very well written and captivating. I enjoyed the storyline so much and the main characters. Nora is such a strong female character and had to overcome so much. I really admired her. Huge thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for my gifted copy!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake (Jaima Fixsen and Regina Sirois Cover) is an amazing and wonderful historical fiction that brings the reader into the 1840s London, England medical landscape. This novel is truly breathtaking. It has it all: fiction, historic fact, suspense, amazing and intricate plot, stunning descriptions and research, complex and well-written characters, and a little romance splashed in for good measure. I loved Nora (Eleanor) Beady. Her intelligence, fire, drive, unconv The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake (Jaima Fixsen and Regina Sirois Cover) is an amazing and wonderful historical fiction that brings the reader into the 1840s London, England medical landscape. This novel is truly breathtaking. It has it all: fiction, historic fact, suspense, amazing and intricate plot, stunning descriptions and research, complex and well-written characters, and a little romance splashed in for good measure. I loved Nora (Eleanor) Beady. Her intelligence, fire, drive, unconventional personality (for that time specifically), strong moral compass, and compassion truly placed me in her corner. How she was able to thrive under the care of Dr. Horace Croft and Mrs. Phipps after such a tragic childhood into a vital part of their family and practice, all the while evolving and learning under the wings of a gifted surgeon when society said it should not be done by a woman, just tells of her fortitude and gumption. This book not only gives the reader an inside look at how the medical community existed during Victorian times, but also how this “man’s” world was yet another area where women were marginalized and prohibited from equal (or really any) participation. I loved the addition of Dr. Daniel Gibson. He fit into the narrative, unconventional family and practice, and into the world of Nora perfectly. Their chemistry was evident. As a female Practitioner, I loved delving into the procedures and experiments as if I was first-assist. The research that was done to create such true to life procedures, medical treatments, experiments, and evolution was spot on. I loved the pace, plot, every one of the characters, and I LOVED the ending. I really think that there could easily be a followup book. I desperately want to see the next chapter in all of their lives. I also loved the Author’s note to give context on fact, historical details, inspirations, and what was tweaked to make the narrative as stunning as it was. Just perfect in every way! This is what novel of historical fiction should look like! 5/5 stars Thank you EW and Sourcebooks Landmark for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Instagram, and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/4/21.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    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 renowne 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. Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Well done Audrey Blake or rather coauthors Jaima Fixsen, from Alberta and Regina Sirois who hails from Kansas. These two authors who met as finalists of a writing contest have created an enjoyable historical fiction that transports the reader into the crude and developing medical world of the 1840’s. This novel has it all: well researched, suspenseful, intricate plot, vivid descriptions and complex loveable characters especially the protagonist, Nora Beady. Nora is an orphan and cholera survivor Well done Audrey Blake or rather coauthors Jaima Fixsen, from Alberta and Regina Sirois who hails from Kansas. These two authors who met as finalists of a writing contest have created an enjoyable historical fiction that transports the reader into the crude and developing medical world of the 1840’s. This novel has it all: well researched, suspenseful, intricate plot, vivid descriptions and complex loveable characters especially the protagonist, Nora Beady. Nora is an orphan and cholera survivor who grows up in the home of Dr. Horace Croft a renowned eccentric London surgeon. Growing up in an unconventional home, Nora learns about medicine. Her knowledge and passion rival’s that of any doctor…but it is illegal for women to practice medicine in England. Nora’s intelligence, drive, and compassion make her a character you can’t help admire. As Dr. Croft brings on a young surgeon the story evolves and becomes an unputdownable page turner and an excellent work of historical fiction.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather~ Nature.books.and.coffee

    A great historical fiction novel this was. I enjoyed this one immediately and flew through the pages. Very well written, engrossing story. Taking place in London, in the 1840's. Nora's parents die during the Cholera pandemic. She is taken in and raised by Dr. Horace Croft. He teaches her much about medicine, and she becomes his most prized assistant, even though it is illegal for women to practice medicine in these times. Dr. Croft brings on a new resident Dr., Daniel Gibson, which forces Nora t A great historical fiction novel this was. I enjoyed this one immediately and flew through the pages. Very well written, engrossing story. Taking place in London, in the 1840's. Nora's parents die during the Cholera pandemic. She is taken in and raised by Dr. Horace Croft. He teaches her much about medicine, and she becomes his most prized assistant, even though it is illegal for women to practice medicine in these times. Dr. Croft brings on a new resident Dr., Daniel Gibson, which forces Nora to take a step back. When a situation arises, and Nora needs to perform a surgery, she risks being exposed. I found the medical info about that time really interesting and can definitely tell alot of research went into this book. I was intrigued by the characters and thought they were well developed. This is a treat for historical fiction fans! Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy! All opinions are my own!

  8. 4 out of 5

    HR-ML

    London England 1832 & 1845. This was a whip-smart and well-researched historical fiction book. Surgeon Dr. Croft had a morning charity clinic, taught at St. Bart's Hospital, did surgeries & served wealthy patients too. He did experiments & autopsies on stolen bodies which he bought. In 1832 a family of patients died of cholera, & Croft brought the only survivor, 8 YO Nora home w/ him. Over the years he taught Nora to be his clinic mgr, to do sutures & more, as if she were a trained physician & su London England 1832 & 1845. This was a whip-smart and well-researched historical fiction book. Surgeon Dr. Croft had a morning charity clinic, taught at St. Bart's Hospital, did surgeries & served wealthy patients too. He did experiments & autopsies on stolen bodies which he bought. In 1832 a family of patients died of cholera, & Croft brought the only survivor, 8 YO Nora home w/ him. Over the years he taught Nora to be his clinic mgr, to do sutures & more, as if she were a trained physician & surgeon, which she was. She did not have a diploma or a license, as women were prohibited from training for this career. Her valuable contribution to Dr. C's practice was illegal activity. And men got the credit for her hard work. Young surgeon Dr. Daniel Gibson wanted further training & Dr. C agreed to mentor him and house him. Dr. C wanted to advance medical procedures ie use ether on the patient before surgery. His Achilles' heal was St. Bart's Chief of Surgery who preferred old methods. They clashed. The best aspect of the book was how Nora made her medical deductions and how she outsmarted 'learned men' at times on the correct diagnosis and remedy. Could she train somewhere and be able to practice medicine? That haunted her. Nora was attracted to 2 men. I look forward to the next book, if one is planned.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liz Mannegren

    Have you ever read the prologue of a book and known instantly that it was going to be a five-star read? That was this novel for me. Blake writes in a way that is rich and captivating. The attention to detail and vivid descriptions transport readers to the gritty and disease-ridden world of 19th century London, drawing them in with well-rounded characters and a plot that feels fresh and exciting. It is obvious that this is an immaculately researched story and while the subject nature could have b Have you ever read the prologue of a book and known instantly that it was going to be a five-star read? That was this novel for me. Blake writes in a way that is rich and captivating. The attention to detail and vivid descriptions transport readers to the gritty and disease-ridden world of 19th century London, drawing them in with well-rounded characters and a plot that feels fresh and exciting. It is obvious that this is an immaculately researched story and while the subject nature could have been unsettling, it was instead, absolutely riveting. I simply could not put it down! Huge thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for this advance read. This has been my favourite read of the year, so far!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    I’ve always been fascinated by medicine and the healing arts and have enjoyed both fiction and nonfiction titles that focus on the subject. It is truly amazing to ponder and absorb the incredible advances and changes in its practice over the past 200 years. This historical fiction novel is set in Victorian England circa 1845 and relates a story about a young orphan who is raised by a well-known surgeon, Dr. Horace Croft. As she grows up as his ward, Eleanor (Nora) Beady becomes his first assistan I’ve always been fascinated by medicine and the healing arts and have enjoyed both fiction and nonfiction titles that focus on the subject. It is truly amazing to ponder and absorb the incredible advances and changes in its practice over the past 200 years. This historical fiction novel is set in Victorian England circa 1845 and relates a story about a young orphan who is raised by a well-known surgeon, Dr. Horace Croft. As she grows up as his ward, Eleanor (Nora) Beady becomes his first assistant and learns medicine and surgery under his tutelage. But, it is illegal in London for a woman to be a doctor so everything she does must remain a secret. Their clinic on Great Queen Street hums along nicely until the arrival of Dr. Daniel Gibson who is meant to become Croft’s partner in practice. Everything changes when Nora’s skills and expertise are exposed and she finds she can no longer live in the shadows. NO SPOILERS. I enjoyed the details and descriptions of disease and treatment during this time period. As an RN, it sometimes seems crazy to me how little was actually known about cause and effect and how much science has discovered since that era. It’s always a bit difficult to read about how little women were allowed to do and the expectations that society had for them. I recently also read WOMEN IN WHITE COATS so was quite familiar with how difficult it was for women to become doctors and to be allowed to practice medicine much less surgery. The only drawback, for me, was the large part of the book that revolved around the romance aspect. Other than that, I found the book easy to read and entertaining. I'd rate this 3.5 stars but rounded up because of the subject being to my taste. Thank you to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for this e-book ARC to read and review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    tpixie

    This was a great book! I can’t wait for the second one! A story about a strong resilient woman, paving the way for the rest of us. Great historical medical information woven into the story 💉🩺💼 👩🏻‍⚕️

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah 🌺 Books in Their Natural Habitat

    The Girl in His Shadow is a historical fiction read book for fans of medical shows/reads. Meet Nora, an orphan taken in by a doctor who has grown to have an extensive medical knowledge and curiosity at a time where it’s not an acceptable role for women. She’s exceptionally bright, and on the forefront of women in medicine, although only a couple of people know due to the impropriety. The book is a journey of pushing boundaries, scandal, and growth. . I really appreciated watching Nora grow and fin The Girl in His Shadow is a historical fiction read book for fans of medical shows/reads. Meet Nora, an orphan taken in by a doctor who has grown to have an extensive medical knowledge and curiosity at a time where it’s not an acceptable role for women. She’s exceptionally bright, and on the forefront of women in medicine, although only a couple of people know due to the impropriety. The book is a journey of pushing boundaries, scandal, and growth. . I really appreciated watching Nora grow and find her voice throughout the book. Curious minds are what have gotten us to where we are with medicine today and it was cool to see inside that process. . I will say that this book is not for everyone. If medical shows make you squeamish, this book may make you squirm - it did to me a few times. There is also medical testing on animals which could be upsetting to readers. . Overall, this book is something different and one people interested in medicine and historical fiction may enjoy!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daisey

    This book was a wonderful historical fiction read! Initially, I wasn't sure about yet another book with girl in the title, but Nora is an incredibly tough and intelligent young girl who becomes a strong and determined woman. Beginning in 1845, Nora has grown up as the ward of an eccentric surgeon before the use of general anesthesia. She works with him as a secretary, artist, nurse, and assistant until the arrival of another doctor to the practice means her skills can no longer remain a secret. This book was a wonderful historical fiction read! Initially, I wasn't sure about yet another book with girl in the title, but Nora is an incredibly tough and intelligent young girl who becomes a strong and determined woman. Beginning in 1845, Nora has grown up as the ward of an eccentric surgeon before the use of general anesthesia. She works with him as a secretary, artist, nurse, and assistant until the arrival of another doctor to the practice means her skills can no longer remain a secret. * I received a copy of this book through a book club sponsorship by Sourcebooks.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    TWs: (view spoiler)[graphic medical descriptions including descriptions of organs, animal cruelty, and sexism (hide spoiler)] This was read with my group, DTReadAlong, so feel free to join us for our next book, Star Eater by Kerstin Hall. I'm surprised that I really liked this! I think I would more accurately rate this a 3.5, rounded down. Starting with what I liked, it was Nora. She's an absolute BADASS. I LOVE that she knew her shit and took none from Daniel. I loved that she put him, and many ot TWs: (view spoiler)[graphic medical descriptions including descriptions of organs, animal cruelty, and sexism (hide spoiler)] This was read with my group, DTReadAlong, so feel free to join us for our next book, Star Eater by Kerstin Hall. I'm surprised that I really liked this! I think I would more accurately rate this a 3.5, rounded down. Starting with what I liked, it was Nora. She's an absolute BADASS. I LOVE that she knew her shit and took none from Daniel. I loved that she put him, and many other men, in their place. I thought she was stubborn, foolish, and yet brave and courageous. I was just as mad as her when others took away her choices and I was very happy with the ending. I also liked Daniel. I thought he was pompous and an asshole most of the time, but it was fun for me to see him fall in love with Nora. I liked that he stuck to his guns and was stubborn at times and that he had a real passion for his profession and more importantly saving people's lives. Special shoutout to Dr. Croft (whom I cast as Mr. Bennet from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice) who was so sweet and kind with Nora and his cold, detachedness from the living was interesting to read. I also loved Mrs. Phipps who was remarkably adaptable and truly cared for Nora. Harry was decent, and I found his situation hard and I think he did what was best for him so I can't entirely fault him (also reminded me of Mr. Bingley). Now that I think of it, this feels like a Pride (Nora) and Prejudice (Daniel) in a medical setting. There's scandal that rocks the family, "enemies" to lovers romance, and much pride on Nora's behalf and prejudice on Daniel's. I think fans of medical dramas and P&P would enjoy this! What I didn't care for was the graphic medical descriptions. I was braced for it; this is a medical drama after all, but it was stomach-turning to the squeamish. I think it always served a purpose, so there isn't anything too cruel unnecessarily, but the description of the animal cruelty was hard to stomach. It's not 100% necessary for the overall plot, so if it disturbs you, you can skip it. Overall, this is a pretty fun medical historical fiction. It's not too difficult to read and fairly entertaining. Good for fans of medical mysteries and Victorian London.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Selma

    A very lovely, inspiring and easy read. I had so much fun reading it as well, I love Historical fiction and I love medical topics so these two mixed in one book totally sold me and I certainly did not expect it to be as good as it was. I absolutely loved Nora because she's smart, intelligent and capable of doing so much more if only give a chance to learn and shine in a society where women are only seen as '' delicate '' and '' emotional '' and '' unfitting '' for positions of power, let alone pr A very lovely, inspiring and easy read. I had so much fun reading it as well, I love Historical fiction and I love medical topics so these two mixed in one book totally sold me and I certainly did not expect it to be as good as it was. I absolutely loved Nora because she's smart, intelligent and capable of doing so much more if only give a chance to learn and shine in a society where women are only seen as '' delicate '' and '' emotional '' and '' unfitting '' for positions of power, let alone practice medicine and surgery. She was raised by the strange and brilliant dr Croft who took her in as an orphan after he found her next to her family's corpses, unfortunately dying of the cholera. She was smart and she showed it, and he taught her about medicine and was pretty much the father figure in her life. I really liked croft's character as well because even if he was a strange and eccentric doctor, he truly cared for Nora. Daniel, oh boy, what a gentleman. He was at first shocked by Nora, a woman with a knowledge better than his own who shouldn't be practicing medicine at all in the first place, then it turned into subtle jealousy of her talents, until he finally gave it all away to genuine admiration for her, and eventually love. Daniel is honestly so sweet, and some passages had me in awe of how much he tries his best and how much he wishes he could show Nora's talents to the whole world. I love how he wishes to monopolize her but also understands that he needs to let her be herself. He can never hold her back and can only love and admire her, and she too in return. I honestly am happy that Nora received such an amazing opportunity in the end, because she truly deserved it more than anyone. It was a fitting end for a great story. Favorite quote from Daniel : He ran his fingers along the stiff planes of her corset, wishing he could squeeze her as tightly as he wanted. “I don’t expect any promises. I leave you utterly to your heart’s desires.” HOW CAN SOMEONE LOVE ANOTHER THIS GENUINELY EXPECTING NOTHING IN RETURN 😭😭😭😭 Daniel is great.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I really enjoyed this historical fiction that featured a strong girl putting herself first, even when that wasn’t what the men around her would have liked. I loved all of the medical history and the storyline. And as is often the case, the authors notes made the book even better. I would definitely recommend this to historical fiction lovers. I received a gifted copy in exchange for my review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    linda hole

    IT was a good story, but all the medical terms ruined the book for me

  18. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from SOURCEBOOKS Landmark in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Just in time for Women's History Month, this was just the book I needed to read. During the time of the 19th century when medicine was developing and booming more than ever, I loved the passion and fire Nora had throughout the book demonstrating her skills and knowledge as a surgeon but politics were not on her side and women were not v This book was received as an ARC from SOURCEBOOKS Landmark in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Just in time for Women's History Month, this was just the book I needed to read. During the time of the 19th century when medicine was developing and booming more than ever, I loved the passion and fire Nora had throughout the book demonstrating her skills and knowledge as a surgeon but politics were not on her side and women were not viewed as influential in the medicine field. I just can't imagine watching someone else take over your foster dad's business and destroy everything you have done which in Nora's case, put her patients at risk. But perseverance always prevails and Nora makes an incredible discovery that could change the world of medicine as we know it and Nora will finally be seen in the medical world and take back for what is rightfully hers. This book was so inspiring that many women across the world will be inspired to reach for their dreams. We will consider adding this title to our Historical Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Warden

    If you love historical fiction with a heavy dose of medical science this book is for you. If get Squeamish easily you will definitely want to pass on this one. The plot was fast moving and kept my attention. Character development was astounding especially the secondary characters. I learned lots of new vocabulary as well a portion of history that is often overlooked.

  20. 4 out of 5

    bibliolatry

    I am utterly enchanted by Nora Beady, the protagonist in this fantastic book. She is an orphaned young woman whose greatest desire is to be a doctor. I had no idea what to expect when I was fortunate to win this ARC in a contest, and when I read that it was about medicine in Victorian England, I wasn't sure if it would appeal to me because I've never read anything like this before. In any case, it didn't matter because I am a huge fan of one of the authors who collaborated to write this. I would I am utterly enchanted by Nora Beady, the protagonist in this fantastic book. She is an orphaned young woman whose greatest desire is to be a doctor. I had no idea what to expect when I was fortunate to win this ARC in a contest, and when I read that it was about medicine in Victorian England, I wasn't sure if it would appeal to me because I've never read anything like this before. In any case, it didn't matter because I am a huge fan of one of the authors who collaborated to write this. I would have read anything she wrote, but I didn't expect to be enthralled by it. The story begins with a Cholera outbreak in the city of London in 1832. Dr. Croft goes to the Beady home to check on that family, who seemed to be recovering from Cholera just the day before. The scene is profoundly powerful when he walks in to see everyone dead, except for 8 year old Nora, who is pathetically weak and not long for this world. Stoically he wraps her up and takes her home. His housekeeper, Mrs. Phipps, is not initially keen about her staying with them. With such economy of language, AB describes the sadness and devastation in the Beady home, but what stands out the most is how dedicated Dr. Croft is to healing people. His humanity shines in that moment, and throughout the book. Thirteen years later Nora is now a young woman, and still living with Dr. Croft, and Mrs. Phipps. Initially she has insecurities about fitting in and seeks ways to be useful to Dr. Croft. He notices her interest and aptitude in anatomy and she becomes indispensable to him. For this reason, she is shocked when he later brings on a new doctor, Dr. Daniel Gibson, to be his assistant. This means that Nora will not be able to help him by seeing patients, nor conducting autopsies, because it is illegal for women to practice medicine at this time. The characters in the book are brilliantly written. They are fully dimensional and it is impossible not to love them (except one). They are so finely drawn that AB doesn't need to tell the reader what they are thinking or feeling. It is clearly evident by what they do, every little action furthers our understanding of each character. Nora is a strong, intelligent woman who knows what she wants, but she is also warm, kind, and caring. The fierce love of Mrs. Phipps for Nora is heart-rendering and sweet. Dr. Croft is gruff, distracted, and irreverent, and without ever saying it, we know that Nora is the most important person in the world to him. Daniel and his friend, Harry, could walk off the pages of the book--they are so real. All the dialogue is perfect. There is not one unnecessary thing said. There were a lot of medical terms, but it was fascinating. I was often googling them to learn more. The medical stories were taken from real life, and although they were sad, it wouldn't have been realistic otherwise. This helped the reader understand the struggles of doctors at this time, given their lack of modern medicine. I was hooked and hung onto every word I read, and although the genre may be "historical fiction," I think it should fall under "literature." One passage that exemplifies the author's sublime use of language, is when Daniel questions Nora about her motives in seeing Harry (which he gets totally wrong). "Words fell like fragile wares from a tipped shelf, shattering into useless pieces in her mind. She could not find any shard large enough for a sensible thought." I could go on and on about how fantastic this book is. I absolutely loved it and will read it again (and probably again.) It was truly exceptional! Thank you to Sourcebooks and Audrey Blake for providing me with an ARC to review for my honest opinions.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    Received a copy of this book to discuss on BookBrowse. I found it incredibly interesting for many reasons. As a pre-med grad and a teacher of Anatomy and Physiology for about 30 years the history of women in science and the restrictions on their opportunities to study and practice medicine, while not unfamiliar to me, was presented in a very personable way. It was very easy to identify with Nora and her interest in and fascination with the human body and its diseases. To have a mentor such as Dr Received a copy of this book to discuss on BookBrowse. I found it incredibly interesting for many reasons. As a pre-med grad and a teacher of Anatomy and Physiology for about 30 years the history of women in science and the restrictions on their opportunities to study and practice medicine, while not unfamiliar to me, was presented in a very personable way. It was very easy to identify with Nora and her interest in and fascination with the human body and its diseases. To have a mentor such as Dr Croft was such a gift to her. And yet, though she is as talented and bright as any male med student she could not legally apply her knowledge nor be certified to practice medicine. In this regard, Italy was far ahead of its time in being supportive of the life of a woman in a professional capacity, beyond the kitchen and nursery. That actually was a hallmark of Italian society well before the 19th century! Besides the story of Nora and women's place in society, is the revelation of the rudimentary practice called medicine only a bit more than a century ago. Sometimes, we forget just how far the knowledge of the human body and its functions has come in a relatively short time. The conflict of egos among the men practicing is also interesting to learn. Though, truth be told, that hasn't change d much as evidenced by all the doctors, epidemiologists etc that have come out of the woodwork during this latest pandemic. Each of them sure of their positions and each of them happy to grandstand and proclaim them loudly--despite the confusion their cacophony has produced among the people of the world. The characters are all very well drawn and the personality of each is easy to envision. From the housekeeper who is the only mother Nora has really known to the young doctors who find her appealing, each of them is three dimensional and relatable. Considering the story could have been bogged down in textbook style presentation of the experiments and surgeries and treatments described, it is a joy to say, none of it is boring or overly descriptive--just enough for reality but not so much to repel. Well done, ladies!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kaylee ~ The Enchanted Library ~

    This book has my heart! I had so many emotions while reading it and it was so close to being perfection. Sometimes it is hard for me to pinpoint what makes a book 5-stars for me vs a 4 or 4.5-star and this one is somewhere in the middle. Let’s start with the overall themes of this book. It is EXACTLY what I want out of a historical fiction. We have a strong, smart, and capable woman who does not fit what is considered the ‘norm’ of a lady in society - and she is absolutely fascinating. There’s a This book has my heart! I had so many emotions while reading it and it was so close to being perfection. Sometimes it is hard for me to pinpoint what makes a book 5-stars for me vs a 4 or 4.5-star and this one is somewhere in the middle. Let’s start with the overall themes of this book. It is EXACTLY what I want out of a historical fiction. We have a strong, smart, and capable woman who does not fit what is considered the ‘norm’ of a lady in society - and she is absolutely fascinating. There’s a crotchety but well-meaning older man who does his best to do right by her - even if it’s misconstrued. A support system that gives tough love. A potential love interest who has a flushed out backstory before being dropped into view and has their own conflicting opinions that suit the time but also hint at forward thinking. I could go on and on. The Girl in His Shadow is centered around a woman who has been trained (albeit by happenstance) in surgical skills which she is more than capable of; but she lives in a time where it is illegal for her to practice. If she is found out, it spells disaster. Then suddenly she has to balance her call to heal and her need to keep her skill a secret when a young doctor comes to train under the in-house surgeon. Who is also her father figure. It is rife with tension, hope, despair, strength, vulnerability, and so much more. I felt so much of this in the pit of my stomach and I know that this book will stick with me. It was a pleasant surprise to find this book written with dual perspective switching between Nora and Daniel and was the perfect way to get a well-rounded view of the story. The growth that happens for both of them is perfectly paced and every moment is well-earned. Something that I think is important to note is that there is a lot of graphically described medical scenarios which come up fairly frequently - I mean, this book DOES follow surgeons. They are clearly well researched and well-written to the point that I felt like I was in the room taking part in the procedures. You can really feel for these characters in their excitement over their experiments and heartbreak over failures with your whole being. If you want a unique historical fiction, I highly recommend picking this one up. It subverts expectation in the best way and leaves you wanting more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    This book provides an excellent look into medicine and surgical techniques in mid-nineteenth century London. Of even greater interest may be the portrayal of a young woman gifted with a scientific mind and the ability to apply that mind to medical practices. Unfortunately women could not legally study or practice medicine at that time and place. But Nora Beady defied convention and learned alongside her guardian and mentor Dr. Horace Croft in the safety of his private home surgical practice. Whe This book provides an excellent look into medicine and surgical techniques in mid-nineteenth century London. Of even greater interest may be the portrayal of a young woman gifted with a scientific mind and the ability to apply that mind to medical practices. Unfortunately women could not legally study or practice medicine at that time and place. But Nora Beady defied convention and learned alongside her guardian and mentor Dr. Horace Croft in the safety of his private home surgical practice. When Dr. Croft suddenly takes on a surgical resident, Nora's medical activity must change to a more conventional role involving illustration and management of supplies. But for Nora, medicine is a vocation and she cannot remain detached when problems require experimentation and people suffer. Basically the story unfolds to the inevitable unveiling of Nora as a medical practitioner of astonishing talent. An element of romance weaves through the story also as resident Dr. Daniel Gibson comes to see Nora as both desirable woman and competent medical scientist. I highly recommend this book for its excellent depiction of historical medical and surgical practices, and for the depiction of the attitudes toward women and their place of worth in that society. I greatly enjoyed reading this book!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jan Cole

    Set in London in the 1840’s Nora is a child saved from cholera by a brilliant, but eccentric doctor. Absentmindedly, he allows her to be a ward of his, reared by his housekeeper in an entirely unconventional way. Nora is allowed to help with the surgical clinic, take notes, and draw anatomy diagrams. She becomes quite a skillful assistsnt, although the full extent of her medical knowledge must remain hidden as it is illegal for women to work within the medical field-save for some nuns who were n Set in London in the 1840’s Nora is a child saved from cholera by a brilliant, but eccentric doctor. Absentmindedly, he allows her to be a ward of his, reared by his housekeeper in an entirely unconventional way. Nora is allowed to help with the surgical clinic, take notes, and draw anatomy diagrams. She becomes quite a skillful assistsnt, although the full extent of her medical knowledge must remain hidden as it is illegal for women to work within the medical field-save for some nuns who were nurses. Her comfortable existence comes to an end when Dr. Daniel Gibson arrives to study under Dr. Croft. Nora is afraid her studying and illegal medical practice will come to an end if Dr. Gibson discovers her secret. I enjoyed reading about women’s roles in the 1840’s and how limited their choices were-especially for a brilliant mind like Nora. She could never be satisfied with the embroidery, fashion, and gossip of the women’s world, yet more serious pursuits were forbidden. I enjoyed Nora. She was a strong character and I liked reading about medical advancements of that era. This historical fiction book is available @ #DuncanPublicLibrary.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Bennett

    Nora Beady, orphaned as a child by a cholera outbreak, is raised by the eccentric Dr. Horace Croft and his housekeeper. Her upbringing is far from normal as she was allowed to help Dr. Croft with his medical research and anatomy drawings. Her assistance quickly grew to assisting during surgeries, though women at this time (1840s England) were not allowed to practice medicine. When Dr. Daniel Gibson shows up to begin studying under Dr. Croft, Nora’s world is upended. Initially Nora hides her medica Nora Beady, orphaned as a child by a cholera outbreak, is raised by the eccentric Dr. Horace Croft and his housekeeper. Her upbringing is far from normal as she was allowed to help Dr. Croft with his medical research and anatomy drawings. Her assistance quickly grew to assisting during surgeries, though women at this time (1840s England) were not allowed to practice medicine. When Dr. Daniel Gibson shows up to begin studying under Dr. Croft, Nora’s world is upended. Initially Nora hides her medical knowledge from Daniel, until one night everything in their carefully controlled world changes. Nora is a fantastic heroine, definitely a woman before her time. I thoroughly appreciate the author not making a romance take precedent, which would belittle what Nora represents. This was a fast read and the audio book was very engaging! Although not an era I tend to read in the historical fiction genre, it was entertaining. I recommend picking this one up if you are a fan of strong female leads! instagram.com/passionforprose

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sonia Francis

    The audacity of a female! - Nora, an orphan in 19th century London has lost her parents to cholera and is raised by Dr. Croft. The tenacity and persistence of Nora to risk it all in a Victorian society where women’s role in medicine is zero is absolutely shunned on to the point of criminality. Nora is defiant and insists she won’t be the homemaker: not knitting, not baking cookies. She follows Dr Croft around.. indeed shadows him, she reads, learns anatomy , practices on the cadavers, she learns The audacity of a female! - Nora, an orphan in 19th century London has lost her parents to cholera and is raised by Dr. Croft. The tenacity and persistence of Nora to risk it all in a Victorian society where women’s role in medicine is zero is absolutely shunned on to the point of criminality. Nora is defiant and insists she won’t be the homemaker: not knitting, not baking cookies. She follows Dr Croft around.. indeed shadows him, she reads, learns anatomy , practices on the cadavers, she learns to suture and mend wounds - all of this done clandestinely because she is not to be in this role as a female. This novel hooked me right in and did not let go- I totally enjoyed the medical aspect. I felt like I was looking on at the surgeries performed especially the bowel obstruction which became scandalous because Nora was in the operating room being hands on. This is where other male doctors had big time issues with her and it was brought to the board for a hearing. It was made even better by a little romance thrown in by Daniel , the doctor who tried to protect her. An absolute gem of a book with characters ranging from hero to villains . I loved it because of the enlightenment towards women in the 19th century and thinking how far women has come now in medicine. I wish that Nora did not have to leave Daniel and I would always wonder if they will meet again. There should be a sequel.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chevy

    Be prepared to be elbow deep right away with this book. Having worked in the medical field I was very impressed with the depth of medical terminology, symptoms, and descriptions in this book. I felt the beginning gave a brief but necessary background for Nora and started the book off nicely. Nora’s story really was the basis of the book and the most enjoyable part. Daniel was just ok. Mrs. Phipps and Dr. Croft were excellent side characters that really shone toward the end of the book. I was wrap Be prepared to be elbow deep right away with this book. Having worked in the medical field I was very impressed with the depth of medical terminology, symptoms, and descriptions in this book. I felt the beginning gave a brief but necessary background for Nora and started the book off nicely. Nora’s story really was the basis of the book and the most enjoyable part. Daniel was just ok. Mrs. Phipps and Dr. Croft were excellent side characters that really shone toward the end of the book. I was wrapped up pretty well into this book and couldn’t wait to see how it ended all the way to the inquiry. Once the inquiry was over it fell flat for me. The ending was preferred but also very anticlimactic for the reader although exciting for Nora.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Becky Zagor

    3.5 rounding up. Interesting book about a woman who can act as a surgeon, but the conventional values of the English Victorian era forbid her. As a nurse, I was amazed at the detail & description given to medical conditions and procedures. There are romantic relationships and ethical dilemmas. A new view of strong and behind the scenes women in days gone by. Edit more of the slower start/background and easily a 4 star. AMAZING that it the debut collaboration between tow wonderful authors!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle Miller

    I loved this book. I love historical fiction and I love anything pertaining to the medical world, so I knew this would be right up my alley when I read the synopsis. It was probably the best medical historical fiction that I’ve read. I will also say that I’m not a huge fan of series, but I would love to read more about what happens to the main character. This book does have descriptions of some slightly gorey things, so if you have a weak stomach, beware.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Pulley

    Fascinating account of medicine in its early stages…no electricity, no anesthesia! This story is of a young, very bright woman who is orphaned by cholera and grows up in the home of a brilliant and eccentric surgeon. Hence, she learns as much about medicine as any doctor…but at a time when it is illegal for women to practice any kind of medicine in England. Enter several aspiring young surgeons to train with her guardian and the story evolves and gets better and better.

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