Wednesday, January 4, 2023

The Surgeon's Daughter by Audrey Blake

The Surgeon's Daughter
by Audrey Blake 
Read by Susan Lyons
13 hours, 24 minutes
Published May 2022 by Sourcebooks

Publisher's Summary: 
Women's work is a matter of life and death.

Nora Beady, the only female student at a prestigious medical school in Bologna, is a rarity. In the 19th century women are expected to remain at home and raise children, so her unconventional, indelicate ambitions to become a licensed surgeon offend the men around her.

Everything changes when she allies herself with Magdalena Morenco, the sole female doctor on-staff. Together the two women develop new techniques to improve a groundbreaking surgery: the Cesarean section. It's a highly dangerous procedure and the research is grueling, but even worse is the vitriolic response from men. Most don't trust the findings of women, and many can choose to deny their wives medical care.

Already facing resistance on all sides, Nora is shaken when she meets a patient who will die without the surgery. If the procedure is successful, her work could change the world. But a failure could cost everything: precious lives, Nora's career, and the role women will be allowed to play in medicine.

My Thoughts: 
This is Blake's follow up to The Girl In His Shadow (my review here). When last we left her, Nora Beady was boarding a ship, headed for Italy to study medicine, eager to be in a place where people allowed women to become doctors. 

Unfortunately for Nora, things aren't that easy (of course). It turns out that, while women are allowed to study medicine, the men still show them no respect and make life as difficult as possible for them. Although she finally begins to make friends and allies, Nora is eager to complete her studies early and return home. But the help she receives from a mentor puts her in an even more difficult situation, leaving her more eager than ever to complete her coursework and return home to Horace Croft, the man who raised her, and Daniel, the man she loves. 

But those men are facing their own battles. Horace has always raised hackles for his unorthodox methods and has made an enemy of the head of the hospital where he does paying work. When he decides to expand his own home to create his own hospital, he finds himself deep in financial trouble, trouble he can't get himself out of because of health issues. It's left to Daniel to try to save Horace's dream, the only home Nora remembers, and his own career. 

Like the first book, this one is loaded with high drama and as the troubles mounted, I begin to tire of yet another obstacle placed in the paths of our heroes. Because, let's be honest, we know how this is going to come out in the end, even if we can't imagine how Blake will possibly get us there. Still, I enjoyed the ride, appreciated female characters who fought back against those obstacles, and reading a book that read a little bit like a 19th-century medical thriller. 

Susan Lyons is again the reader and I quite enjoy her reading and her ability to give each of the characters a unique voice. Will there be another book in the series? It's almost certain. After all, Nora and Daniel have not married yet when we end this book and there are no end to the medical situations the group of doctors running the new hospital can battle. If I'm right, it's a given that I'll pick it up. 

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