Title: The Physician’s Daughter
Author: Martha Conway
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 3rd March 2022
In a world made for men, can one woman break freefrom tradition and walk a new path?
It is 1865, the American Civil War has just ended, and 18-year old Vita Tenney is determined to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a country doctor like her father. But when her father tells her she must get married instead, Vita explores every means of escape – and finds one in the person of war veteran Jacob Culhane. Damaged by what he’s seen in battle and with all his family gone, Jacob is seeking investors for a fledgling business. Then he meets Vita – and together they hatch a plan that should satisfy both their desires.
Months later, Vita seemingly has everything she ever wanted. But alone in a big city and haunted by the mistakes of her past, she wonders if the life she always thought she wanted was too good to be true. When love starts to compete with ambition, what will come out on top?
I find the American Civil War a fascinating era of history but I haven’t actually read much historical fiction that takes place within it. Because of this, the premise of The Physician’s Daughter really appealed to me and happily the book totally lived up to my high expectations! The story begins at the end of the war and follows Vita, a young woman with a lifelong dream of becoming a doctor, just like her father. Frustratingly, Vita’s father does not approve of her ambition and tells her she must instead get married. Then Vita meets war veteran Jacob, who is suffering with the memories of the trauma he endured as a soldier, and together they concoct a plan to let them both get what they want.
The Physician’s Daughter builds itself up at a steady pace with the naïve but strong and determined Vita at its centre. I found her an engaging and relatable character and thoroughly enjoyed her journey and desire to learn. Through Jacob’s recollections of his recent past, the true horror and cost of the Civil War in America is also heartbreakingly evident. I felt truly invested in Vita’s struggle to become who she wants to be in a society that sees fit to constrain and belittle her. A compelling and richly evocative work of historical fiction about grief, family, ambition and courage.
Thank you to Tracy of Compulsive Readers for having me on the tour. I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
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