The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny

Gender equality has always been an important issue. Even with today's increased opportunities, the fact remains that women are not always afforded the same chances that men receive. This longstanding struggle was even more common in the 16th century, where author Regina O'Melveny sets her debut novel.

Dr. Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in Venice. While most women live more common lives, she has been afforded the chance to study medicine with her father, who is a well-respected doctor in is own right. Even though the guild of medicine is comprised entirely of men, her father has always done everything possible to ensure that his daughter becomes the best doctor she can be. When her father leaves the home to research maladies and cures to be published in his massive medical resource, The Book of Diseases, he leaves Gabriella to continue the family's medical practice. 

Years later, Gabriella is still home, facing mounting disapproval from the medical guild, while her father continues his mysterious journey, sending letters that leave minimal clues to his activities or whereabouts. When, one day, she receives a letter from her father stating that he plans to continue his research with no intentions of ever returning home, Gabriella, despite her mother's warnings, sets out to find her father and convince him to return. 

I have mixed feelings about this novel. Certain aspects worked extremely well. O'Melveny paints an accurate portrait of a young woman's struggle to reach her true potential. Set in the late 1500's the medical details, historical contexts, and character interactions are all fantastic. At times, however, I felt that the language of the novel got in the way of an otherwise intriguing story. The sections meant to portray the entries in the ongoing Book of Diseases seemed to be inserted in the middle of the plot, making the story a bit choppy. Overall, I think fans of historical fiction, mysteries and strong female lead characters will really enjoy this novel. Despite its setbacks, the story is strong enough to make this worth the read. 

For more information visit the publisher's website

(week 18, book 20)

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 5, 2012 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

18 Responses to “The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny”

  1. Yes, Ethan, I've read and marked your review as helpful. Congratulations! Glad to see you are ahead of your goal. (You must either be going to take a week off here or there, or else have some big doorstops on your agenda!)

  2. I marked yes.

    alibraryofourown at gmail dot com

  3. Yes, the review is helpful. Book sounds interesting to me.

  4. I read the review and clicked "yes" it was helpful. Thanks for the giveaway- the book sounds intriguing!

    laurenalexis at gmail dot com

  5. Hey Ethan!

    Great review! I marked it as helpful. You are a very talented writer!

  6. Hi Ethan ,

    Nice Review, I love ur writing. I completed the above step and answered "YES" . Thanks for the giveaway !

  7. Hi Ethan,
    Thanks for the directions. I am interested in reading and reviewing this book, have liked the review and clicked yes. Please add me to the list for Giveaways. And thank you for letting me know!

  8. This book sounds interesting. I wouldn't mind reading it and see for myself.


  9. I forgot to say that I went to amazon and clicked yes on your review.


  10. i clicked yes to the review. thank you!

  11. I went to amazon and clicked yes on your review. Thanks for offering the giveaway!


  12. Hi Ethan,

    First of all, thanks for directing me over here from Jagged Edge, I was lost Brother!

    Second, I read your review on Amazon and marked it as helpful, I was #18 if you're counting.

    Finally, please enter my name in the draw for the chance to win this book, I think I'd find it very interesting. Thanks


  13. Great review. Please enter me in the contest.


    Silver's Reviews

  14. OOPS...forgot my e-mail, and yes I did Step 1.

    silversolara AT gmail DOT com

  15. Sounds like a great book! Yes to amazon :D alklong [at] hotmail [dot]com

  16. Ethan, I read your review, now I have to read the book!

    margueritecore [at] gmail [dot] com

  17. Congratulations to Erin, Terry, and AnnaZed! They will each receive a copy of The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny. Thanks to the publisher for making this giveaway available, and thanks to all who entered. Be sure to check this site for future giveaway opportunities.

  18. Thank you!!! I'm so thrilled to have won!!!


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