The Book of Madness and Cures Summary and Reviews

The Book of Madness and Cures

A Novel

by Regina O'Melveny

The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2012
    336 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th century Venice: a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entrée 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: she is no longer permitted to treat her patients, women who need her desperately, without her father's patronage. She sets out across Europe to find where - and why - he has gone. 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 probes the mystery of her father's flight, and open new mysteries of her own. Not just mysteries of ailments and treatments, but 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 and unforgettable debut.

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Media Reviews

"O'Melveny draws her scenes with vivid immediacy, opening readers' eyes to the mysteries and wonders surrounding them during this transformative time." - Booklist

"Readers will be delighted by O'Melveny's whimsical embellishments, though veterans of historical fiction may balk at the poetic, metaphor-laden prose and fancifully piebald construction." - Publishers Weekly

"In her fiction debut, poet O'Melveny draws on her Italian artist mother's memories of Venice and her own father's disappearance when she was young to create a story of real longing." - Library Journal

"Regina O'Melveny's debut novel, 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

The information about The Book of Madness and Cures shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Regina O'Melveny's poetry has been published widely in literary journals, garnering several prizes. She grew up at the edge of pungent chaparral in La Mesa, California, and chose to enroll at Callison College - a school of International Studies at the University of the Pacific - almost solely based upon the fact that the second year would be spent 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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