Gabriella Mondini is a young female doctor in sixteenth century Venice. Trained by her doctor father, Gabriella is capable of providing treatment as well as any male doctor. She has been working on her father’s The Book of Diseases ever since he left to go on a journey. After her father says he’s not coming home and she gets kicked out of the Venetian Physician’s Guild, Gabriella decides to take matters into her own hand and goes on a journey to find her father. Be prepared for a fascinating journey.
I adored this book! It’s really hard for me to find good historical fiction that I’m interested in, and O’ Malveny really delivers. Gabriella is a great heroine–she is the perfect blend of a woman dictated by her setting (after all no one truly escapes the world they’re born into) and a forward thinker. I really related to her as a character because of her determination and focus. Another strong aspect of the book is its beautiful and vivid description of the setting and situation; I really got a good sense of the places Gabriella visits and understanding the setting and the themes within the book. Overall, The Book of Madness and Cures is a captivating read, and I definitely recommend it!