The Book of Madness and Cures

The Book of Madness and Cures

2.91 (2,731 ratings by Goodreads)
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Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th century Venice, she's a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entree to this all-male profession, and inspired in her a shared mission to understand the secrets of the human body. Then her father disappears and Gabriella faces a crisis: without her father's patronage, she is no longer permitted to treat her patients.

So she sets out across Europe to find her father. Following clues from his occasional enigmatic letters, Gabriella crosses Switzerland, Germany and France, entering strange and forbidding cities. She travels to Scotland, the Netherlands, and finally to Morocco. In each new land, she uncovers details of her father's unexplained flight, and opens new mysteries of her own. Not just the mysteries of ailments and treatments, but the ultimate mysteries of mortality, love, and the timeless human spirit. Filled with medical lore and sensuous, vivid details of Renaissance life, The Book of Madness and Cures is an intoxicating, unforgettable debut.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 162 x 241 x 30mm | 568g
  • John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • None
  • 1848547056
  • 9781848547056
  • 2,911,098

Review quote

'An unexpectedly enjoyable read' * Women's Weekly * '[Gabriella Mondini's] journey is conveyed with earthy and sensual brio, clearly well-researched evocations of time and place, and...poetical description...You will love this adventure' * Elle * 'This debut novel from a prize-winning poet is an elegant portrait of a resolute woman who practices medicine in 16th-century Venice....O'Melveny has written a compelling drama with a strong female lead. The writing is superb, particularly when the author describes the exotic locales and ancient superstitions Gabriella encounters on her travels' * Library Journal * 'Gabriella Mondini is a woman ahead of her time. She's the lone female practicing medicine (with her father's sponsorship) in 16th-century Venice. Then her father vanishes, and she spends years traveling from Italy to Scotland to Morocco and more to find him, teased along by the occasional letter he's sent. In her fiction debut, poet O'Melveny draws on her Italian artist mother's memoirs of Venice and her own father's disappearance when she was young to create a story of real longing. A big push, with specially slipcased galleys featuring the beautiful cover. I'm betting on this one' * Library Journal * The Book of Madness and Cures is a marvelous, inventive story of a singular courageous woman on a quest to find her missing father. Set in the Renaissance, it explores the wonders, and dangers, of Europe and Asia Minor and recreates a world - exotic and familiar, sensuous and beguiling - where a defiant woman, practicing the ancient healing arts, is believed to be contrary to the laws of God and Man * Kathleen Kent, author of The Traitor's Wife and The Heretic's Daughter *
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About Regina O'Melveny

Regina O'Melveny's poetry has been published widely in literary journals, garnering several prizes. She grew up in California and spent a year living in India. Thus began her many extended travels that would later inspire The Book of Madness and Cures, her first novel. She lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
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Rating details

2,731 ratings
2.91 out of 5 stars
5 8% (215)
4 19% (507)
3 39% (1,068)
2 27% (725)
1 8% (216)
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