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 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.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
Scholarly - but not gripping
I did a lot of skimming to get to the end. The author knows her subject, that's clear. She knows a LOT about the practice and theory of medicine in the 1500's - but her novel suffers from a desire to work in as many medical theories as possible. I suspect the plot arose as a medium through which to demonstrate an impressive breadth of knowledge, rather than being a great story that happens to take place across Europe in that time.
She can write, there's no doubt. I'll watch for her next book, in the hopes that she's now exercised her medical demons and can concentrate on plot.
I enjoyed this read thoroughly.
The book of madness cures
Not too bad, but a bit slow.