Wednesday, November 30, 2022

"The Girl in His Shadow " by Audrey Blake - Book Review and Discussion

My most recent three-star read that had the potential to be so much more! Want to hear me explain where I think this book went off the rails? Do you enjoy reading historical fiction that features a strong female lead? Interested in reading about the history of medicine? Check out my book review of "The Girl in His Shadow" by Audrey Blake.

"The Girl in His Shadow" by Audrey Blake
Book Review

The Girl in His Shadow

by Audrey Blake

My rating : ★★★☆☆

goodreads / amazon / library


Raised by the eccentric surgeon Dr. Horace Croft after losing her parents to a deadly pandemic, the orphan Nora Beady knows little about conventional life. While other young ladies were raised to busy themselves with needlework and watercolors, Nora was trained to perfect her suturing and anatomical illustrations of dissections.

Women face dire consequences if caught practicing medicine, but in Croft's private clinic Nora is his most trusted--and secret--assistant. That is until the new surgical resident Dr. Daniel Gibson arrives. Dr. Gibson has no idea that Horace's bright and quiet young ward is a surgeon more qualified and ingenuitive than even himself. In order to protect Dr. Croft and his practice from scandal and collapse Nora must learn to play a new and uncomfortable role--that of a proper young lady. ( from  


What Worked for Me: I *love* historical fiction. It is absolutely one my favorite genres and it also gets a bit of a bad rep for being repetitive - cue hundreds of identical book covers featuring the back of a woman. But really, it is such an interesting genre, when done well! And while I wouldn't say reading this book felt like stepping into a time machine, I did enjoy learning about the history of women in medicine. I also felt connected to many of the secondary characters in this book and I think that my investment in their stories kept me reading when my interest in the main plot fizzled out.

What I Struggled With: I gave this book three stars and after finishing it really struggled to put my finger on why I wouldn't recommend it. It's a solid three star read, but it had the potential to be so much more! Thank the book gods for Goodreads because there were so many excellent reviews that helped me see that I was one, definitely not alone and two, hung up on two issues - the main character and the plot.

The stakes in this book felt incredibly low. We were dealing with life and death situations but that stress rarely felt palpable. In comparison, a historical fiction novel I *loved* Push of the Stars - I had to put it down several times because the scenes were so incredibly intense. That novel managed to have suspense, emotions, and character development - that "The Girl in His Shadow" just doesn't have. 

The ending of "The Girl in His Shadow", which is supposed to be a cliffhanger, was such a letdown. It felt unsatisfying because we do not get to find out until the next book - presumably - about an important choice the main character must make. But at the end of the day I felt like I didn't really care, the main character would be fine either way and so I just wasn't that invested. 

Have you read "The Girl in His Shadow"? Let me know your thoughts below. If not, tell me your favorite historical fiction novel! I'd love to add it to my list. Thanks for reading!


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