One of this year’s Big Library Read titles, The Girl in His Shadow is a powerful historical fiction novel that defies genre. Nora Beady has been raised by eccentric Dr. Horace Croft and has worked by his side in the household surgery of 1845 London. As she ages, Nora finds great skill in first sketching the procedures and then assisting in them. As a woman, however, they must keep her participation a secret. When a new surgical resident arrives at their home, Nora must pretend to be a proper young woman, despite her desperation to help the ill around her and be acknowledged for her contributions.
The Girl in His Shadow has elements of suspense, romance, history, and horror. The medical procedure descriptions are highly detailed and not for the faint of heart. Nora is a strong female lead, searching for her place in a repressive society where she has to fight to be seen as more than a womb. The men that surround her vary from caring to infuriating. The book is an excellent read and there is a sequel available.