July 12, 2022

What are your overall thoughts about the book?

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Jessica S

It was great to see the trials a woman had to go through to pave her way to be a doctor. Amazing to hear how men and women alike, made the journey that much harder, instead of helping. Unfortunately, men still try to belittle a woman’s work today, to help protect their own egos.


I admired Nora’s confidence and strength in the face of societal restrictions. She didn’t complain about the unfairness of life, but continued to learn about the medical procedures of the time and to stand up to the conventions which sought to hold her back.

Terri M

Late to the discussion, unfortunately, but just finished the audio book. Agree with the overall feeling that this was a wonderful book. What women have endured to use their talents is remarkable. I really appreciate the author keeping Nora true to her intellect and upbringing, instead of falling into the “love conquers all” cliche. Also showing that men can be supportive of strong women. You don’t have to be a man hater to be a successful woman. I am looking forward to following Nora’s quest, and will look for some non fiction books of those early female medical pioneers. They… Read more »


It’s an excellent book, full of interesting lore about the (dismal) state of medical practice in 1840s Great Britain, and a page – turner to boot. I was very surprised that the novel had two co-writers, and that it was their debut novel – I didn’t notice any awkward style transitions or clunky passages.

Janet Hazlett

What a great read! I wanted Nora and all the characters to be real. I liked that it was not overly sentimental , but really reflected the times, I felt. The novel made me want to learn more about the historical research the authors used in the writing. What an exciting and scary time.

Tricia Mccaffrey

A very enjoyable book. The narrator was wonderful as well. Was a good lesson in women in medicine, an eye opener.


I enjoyed the book very much! My first Big Library Read, surprisingly, since I am an avid reader! Evidently I am not the only one who wants to continue to read about the brilliant Nora, as she continues her studies in Italy. There is a 20+ waiting list at my library for the next e-book “The Surgeon’s Daughter”! I am so glad to see the strides we have made to include women in the medical field as doctors. We have brave intelligent women in our past to thank for that. May our future hold more and more hope and support… Read more »


I enjoyed Nora and her growth throughout the story. It was good to see a strong, intellectual women be able to express herself and be forceful in her medical studies. The medical and surgical procedures were also interesting to hear and was a good reminder that in order to make medical progress some unsavory things had to be done at times. I was also amazed to find out this book was written by two authors. The writing was so consistent.


Excellent novel with particularly credible details, wonderful use of imagery and tender emotions. What a wonderful way to understand history and the challenges faced at the time. Well done.




Fantastic read! I feel Miss Beady becoming stronger in each passing chapter. Her mind is brilliant. He courage is amazing. I am so glad I found this book. #biglibraryreads


Great reminder that women have made a difference in medicine when it was not popular to do so


This was an enjoyable read!

Evelyn Woods RItter

Very interesting read! I enjoyed hearing about the surgical techniques and the discoveries that were made. I was so glad Nora found a medical school.

Bjorn Candel

I really enjoyed this novel! The characterisation of Nora was fabulous, how she grew and developed across the pages. It was difficult to read about some of the surgical procedures – maybe a warning like the one on a cigarette packet would have been good? But this was obviously part and parcel of Nora’s world. I’ve enjoyed going back in time a bit to get to know another world.

Hyla winters

I am reminded of the PBS series call the midwife. Live reading about strong and smart women who made a difference.


Stayed up to finish the book. My thoughts turned to Marie Curue and all the many unknown, unnamed women with huge potential to serve and contribute to medicine.
Great read!


That’s the same thought I had. I wasn’t aware that Italy was that progressive during the 19th century. I would have liked to know how Nora faired in Italy.


I really enjoyed reading this novel. As a woman that works in a male dominated industry I am saddened by the many parallels that still exist in modern society in regards to professions. Like Nora, I am fortunate to work with a small group who have realised that my gender gives me some unique talents and insights into my work and people. We have come so far, but still have a long way to go in regards to gender equality.


A great read! I enjoy historical novels from many past eras. This was a new perspective of women’s roles in the medical field set in one of my favorite times.


Oops – I should have praised Jaima and Regina – well done ladies!


My husband and I have both read this book and both thoroughly enjoyed it😊 I was so surprised that is is Audrey Blake’s first novel. I can’t wait to read the next adventure. It kept me interested the whole way through. Thank you Audrey for this most enjoyable experience!


Love, love, love it! I can’t wait to read The Surgeon’s Daughter next!


This book is a great story and now I am reading the next book about Nora in France. It is also a great book!


I really enjoyed the book & how it took you back to a time so foreign to us today. It was wonderful how brave Nora was in her pursuit in medicine.

Schwerm Elizabeth

Loved it!

Leta Phillips

One of my favorite books of all times. Will be adding this book to my collection.


We are fortunate to live in a time when we realize that great achievements can be made by anyone. It was wonderful to have our heroine choose to explore her potential rather than settle for the role society proscribes for her.

Rina R

Great story. Felt very true to time period. Characters easy to relate to, love and hate. Structure flowed nicely. I would love to read more from author and Nora’s story.


Loved the book! I was not ready for it to end and am happy the next one continues Nora’s story.


I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Good character building and interesting insights into understanding of anatomy and medical care during this time period.


I absolutely loved this book. Looking forward to reading the next one.


A wonderful book and fascinating historical setting. As an audio book reader, I appreciate the vocal talent of Susan Lyons, the narrator. She brought the cast of characters to life for me with her ability to project changes in tone and accent — amazing.
Big Library Read is a wonderful idea — thank you.


I very much enjoyed this book. The subject matter reminded me of the streaming series called The London Hospital, except that series is set in the early 1900s and is based on real case files.

Nancy Z LECK

yes, I enjoyed that program very much !!

Janet Engelson

I very much enjoyed the book. As a woman I am privy to the way intelligent women have to tiptoe around some men being careful not to rile their ego or offend their masculinity. There are not that many men that can be understand being equal. I could not put the book down. Even though it is set in historical times, things have not changed so much for women.


I loved this book. It’s hard to believe in this day and age that women were thought of as lower class. So under appreciated. Only to serve, without a voice. I was happy when Dr. Croft “allowed” Nora the permission and funding to go to school. Actually he is a hero in many ways, and I admire him. A man of high morals. He handles each challenge with wit, and grace.

Nora is very brave indeed. I like the way she responded to Daniel’s marriage proposal.

I was so very pleased with this book that I purchased sequel.

Great read.


Enjoyed reading “The Girl in His Shadow” on numerous levels. The levels of plots from evolution of the practice of medicine to the role of woman professionally, personally and in society is intriguing and not stagnant for one moment. Characters are fully developed to the extent you feel present in the story. Very special novel for sure.

Nancy Z LECK

I just joined the Book Nerd authors interview one hour ago. One author mentioned a journal source for old case studies . It sounded like “J STORE” ?? Did anyone catch it – the correct name of the website I mean ?? thanks.

Nancy Z LECK

Just found the digital library which contains med. journals . It is “JSTOR”.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The authors descriptions put me into the rooms, like “a fly on the wall”. I look forward to reading more of Nora’s journey in The Surgeon’s Daughter.

Sue Ferguson

Loved the book and the opportunity to meet the authors on line!


At age 76 i found the book quite true to earlier attitudes and practices. I have been in medical community and felt quite at ease with the descriptions and events. Yes the presence of women has greatly expanded and the archaic attitudes of the gentlemen at the training institute have also grown to include the general uninformed population. Witness the attitudes regarding vaccines and contagous disease..
i listened to the audiobook. Very well written. It was a great story and i thank the authors for their ability.


I listened to the audio and really enjoyed the story. Nora was a very admirable character and made me want to do more research in in the history of women in the medical field. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Pam - GA

Excellent depiction of the evolution of modern medicine and what it’s forefathers had to do in order to get us where we are today. This is the type of info that folks today need to understand so that expectations for vaccines (Covid) and cures (Cancer) are properly set. Despite our culture of immediacy, it remains unrealistic to imagine that any cure can be created overnight. As a member of the medical/scientific community all my life, I am amazed at how things have matured. Years ago, women were expected to be nurses and aids, today we are in the operating rooms… Read more »


Yes I agree with what you have written. We women totally need to thank the ones before us. We should not just take for granted their sacrifice and their determination for the better future they have given us.

Carole willette

I loved the book first of all the writing was wonderful so much description in detail. That kept moving each moment. Sometimes I find other authors slow down the story by long descriptions until I finally think let’s get on with it. I enjoyed reading of the absolute impossibilities of woman interested in science and medicine and other professions dominated and ruled by the men of the time also the rigid societal rules of the upper class.
the story was wonderful even if it had been a totally fictional story.

Ginger Bell

I loved the book. I also listened to it as an audio book for my long commutes to my nursing job. I am so glad I joined the book club this month. I’m looking forward to next months book.


I thought it was very well written and very informative about antiquated social “rights and wrongs”. I was surprised at how little the physicians knew about medicine and how resistant some doctors were to change. Nora was so strong and smart and determined! I do see parallels today, both with women in certain industries and of course the disparity of opportunity for some non white folks.
All in all, very good book! Thank you.


I was rather outraged by the way a female was omitted from being able to legally participate in the medical profession, except in small ways as they could not be trusted to keep calm as they were the weaker sex and shouldn’t see certain body places as they were delicate. A good read. I was rather disappointed that the protagonist had to find an acceptable doctor companion in order to continue her studies.

Nancy Z LECK

You may enjoy reading “The Blackwell Sisters” & what they went thru to get into med school. Non-fiction .


I really enjoyed if, the characters were each so unique and the procedures fascinating


I thought that the author did a brilliant job of developing the characters in this book, and their relationship with one another. I love a book with a strong female, and Nora certainly did not disappoint! The medical history of London in 1845 was such an interesting backdrop for the story. We tend to forget how far we have come in medicine in a short time. I am grateful to be living in the day of modern medicine, and anesthesiology. I listened to the audio version, and finished the book in 2 days. I couldn’t wait to read the sequel… Read more »


This genre was so far out my comfort zone but so glad I decided to read it. The author did a fantastic job with the characters and world building of this book. Truly enjoyable and such easy listening material!

Most of all, I loved the ending. I love that Nora chose to follow her heart and what makes her happy.


I really, really enjoyed this book!! I thought it was such a fantastic story about the strength and determination of a female in a male dominated profession in its infancy. Such a good read!

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