The Book of Madness and Cures

The Book of Madness and Cures - Regina O'Melveny Venice in 1590 was one of the more forward thinking cultures of Europe. Even so, Gabriella Mondini had to hide her ability as a physician because of her gender. Her father taught her the art of physick and she had looked forward to practicing with him. When he decided to go wandering throughout Europe to find more cures for his Book of Physick she was devastated to be left behind with her mother. As his correspondence became more and more sporadic she made the decision to follow his path and find him. Not quite as simple as it sounds. A woman travelling alone with her staff of two attracts all kinds of unwanted attention, and a woman physician could be misconstrued as a witch. All making for an interesting and perilous quest.

I enjoyed this book for several reasons; the description of life as a “liberated” woman in 16th century Europe, Gabriella’s quest and the descriptions of the various countries she travelled through and the description of common cures, uncommon ailments and everyday life. This book would definitely appeal to fans of Arrianna Franklin’ Mistress in the Art of Death books.