by Katie Welsh
Sarah Gilchrist wants to be a doctor, something that isn’t common in 1892. Because of a scandal, she has fled her home in England and ends up in Scotland, living with her aunt and uncle. She is among a small group of female students who are the first females to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Sarah is smart, resourceful but headstrong and trying to fit in with the other medical students is difficult. The male students don’t want females in their school and Sarah’s scandal has followed her to Scotland. Her aunt and uncle only want to get her married so that she can put the scandal behind her but Sarah doesn’t want to get married. She begins volunteering at a free clinic where she treats the unfortunate people living in poverty, including prostitutes. There she meets a young prostitute named Lucy, who later dies, and Sarah is convinced that she was murdered.
She begins investigating and, by doing this, puts her own life in danger. Sarah develops a relationship with one of the professors at the school but he seems suspect too, especially after she sees him visiting the same brothel where Lucy worked. Who can she trust?
This book has wonderful descriptions of the Victorian time period and the role that women were forced to play. Sarah is a strong character who suffered the scorn of society, even though she didn’t do anything wrong. There is a mystery and a twist that I didn’t see coming. I felt that the ending was rushed so, I am wondering if there will be a sequel to this book. Enjoyable, if not fully developed.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book to review.