The Nurse’s Secret A Thrilling Historical Novel of the Dark Side of Gilded Age New York City

$ 9,00

The unflinching, spellbinding new book from the acclaimed author of The Second Life of Mirielle West. Based on the little-known story of America’s first nursing school, a young female grifter in 1880s New York evades the police by conning her way into Bellevue Hospital’s training school for nurses, while a spate of murders continues to follow her as she tries to leave the gritty streets of the city behind…

“A spellbinding story, a vividly drawn setting, and characters that leap off the pages. This is historical fiction at its finest!” – Sara Ackerman,
USA Today bestselling author of The Codebreaker’s Secret

BookBub’s Best Historical Fiction of Summer

Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. Where once nurses were assumed to be ignorant and unskilled, Bellevue prizes discipline, intellect, and moral character, and only young women of good breeding need apply. At first, Una balks at her prim classmates and the doctors’ endless commands. Yet life on the streets has prepared her for the horrors of injury and disease found on the wards, and she slowly gains friendship and self-respect. 

Just as she finds her footing, Una’s suspicions about a patient’s death put her at risk of exposure, and will force her to choose between her instinct for self-preservation, and exposing her identity in order to save others.

Amanda Skenandore brings her medical expertise to a page-turning story that explores the evolution of modern nursing—including the grisly realities of nineteenth-century medicine—as seen through the eyes of an intriguing and dynamic heroine.

PRAISE FOR AMANDA SKENANDORE’S THE SECOND LIFE OF MIRIELLE WEST

“In this superior historical, the author’s diligent research, as well as her empathetic depiction of those subjected to forced medical isolation, make this a winner.” —Publishers Weekly

SKU: 1496726537
Category:
Publisher ‏ : ‎

Kensington (June 28, 2022)

Language ‏ : ‎

English

Paperback ‏ : ‎

368 pages

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎

1496726537

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎

978-1496726537

Item Weight ‏ : ‎

11.2 ounces

Dimensions ‏ : ‎

5.48 x 0.97 x 8.16 inches

Best Sellers Rank:

#21 in Historical Fiction (Books)

Customer Reviews:

5,347 ratings

Customer Reviews

1-5 of 10 reviews

  • Frank A. Racioppi

    Author: Amanda SkenandoreRating: Four out of Four antiseptic bandagesEase Of Reading: 352 pages. Relax because you’re in the hands of a master narrator. Plenty of narrative balls to juggle with no risk of dropping any of them.When To read: After watching several episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and realizing that the history of medicine and women’s role wasn’t simply groping in one of the many supply closets in the hospital.The Nurse’s Secret is one of those novels that reignites the title and subtitle debate. The title, The Nurse’s Secret, alludes to a medical story or even a romance novel. In reality, the novel is both and so much more. The Nurse’s Secret is indeed a medical tale with a romantic piece. But it is also a sharp commentary on the gross inequality of 1880s America in big cities like New York City.Moreover, the novel pokes its stick at male dominance, female submission, medical ignorance, and the birth of a new medical profession.Author Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer by trade and a registered nurse. Her practical expertise and historical chops steer the novel toward dramatic mastery with a ‘pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” skill.Kensington, the book’s publisher, summarizes the book this way: “Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. Where once nurses were assumed to be ignorant and unskilled, Bellevue prizes discipline, intellect, and moral character, and only young women of good breeding need apply. At first, Una balks at her prim classmates and the doctors’ endless commands. Yet life on the streets has prepared her for the horrors of injury and disease found on the wards, and she slowly gains friendship and self-respect.“Just as she finds her footing, Una’s suspicions about a patient’s death put her at risk of exposure, and will force her to choose between her instinct for self-preservation, and exposing her identity in order to save others.”The narrative pacing is deliberate and descriptively dense, yet the author needs to pace the story carefully because the novel operates on so many levels simultaneously.First, the novel introduces the class struggle of the impoverished in the dark recesses of the Gilded Age in New York City in the 1880s. That stark inequality and outward disgust toward the “street people” infects the entire narrative and the mystery.Second, there are the medical components of the story, and they multiply seamlessly. The reader learns about the Florence Nightingale-inspired nursing school at Bellevue Hospital, where only proper woman with distinguished backgrounds can apply. Again, the class warfare invades. Then the reader watches the subjugation of the female nurses and trainees by the doctors, administrators, and society. In that time and place, doctors are incapable of mistakes and never second-guessed.The author slickly injects Joseph Lister and his germ theory, as the English doctor’s theory of antiseptic care was just beginning to take root in the medical profession after years of being ridiculed and rejected.The author then uses his nursing training with great skill to educate the reader as well as Una and her roommate-nurse trainee Dru. That medical knowledge was then used skillfully to advance the medical mystery and ultimately criminal acts.Third, the novel slow churns a budding romance between a young doctor at the hospital and Una, with the suitor unaware of Una’s true, sordid past. That simmering romance links to the oppression of the lower classes and to male domination in society and in relationships at that time.Finally, there is the journey of the main character, Una. Here, Skenandore paints her brushstrokes of Una with painstaking care, compositional excellence and three-dimensional depth. It’s Una’s voice we hear throughout the novel, and the reader is so meticulously drawn into her world that it’s literary immersion at its best.The Nurse’s Secret enabled me to enjoy a medical history tome, a criminal mystery, a romance novel, a socio-economic tract, a female empowerment tale, and the personal growth of a young woman destined like so many others in 1883 to a short, brutish life. The novel is a showcase for a talented author like Amanda Skenandore, and would be fun for readers in either print, ebook or audiobook versions.

    December 25, 2022
  • RMB5

    This book is very suspensful and you can’t put it down until you have finished it. It is a thriller in everysense of the word.

    December 25, 2022
  • Jena R

    I’m an avid reader and I enjoy thrillers. I could not put this book down! I highly recommend it!

    December 25, 2022
  • bookworm

    As a modern day nurse I was captivated by this story. It was so well written, so enjoyable. Very talented author.

    December 25, 2022
  • Jenny

    I borrowed this book from my local library and was absolutely engrossed in the fantastic storyline. I was definitely taken by surprise on the murderer’s identity. Una was a layered, spunky character that had me rooting for her and the romance that developed between her and Edwin added to the drama.

    December 25, 2022
  • Karen G.

    Hard to put this book down. Had to get to the ending to see what happened to this main character. Good description of the characters in this book.

    December 25, 2022
  • Linda Weber

    I loved this book for many reasons, one of which was the main character Una came alive on the page. The plot line was fun, and engaging, and had enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the next page. Grifter Una was such a compelling character, and sequed into Nurse Una so naturally that the transition and transformation was organic and realistic.The book is a lighter read than the author’s previous three offerings. I didn’t come away from this book feeling guilty over our societal missteps, as I did with Between Earth and Sky and The Undertaker’s Assistant. Nor did I come away with the same degree of compassion for “the other” as I did with The Second Life of Mirelle West. Una is a survivor and the ending of this story gave me hope that even if she had a tragic beginning in life, she would rise from the alleys and make a life of worth and value for herself

    December 25, 2022
  • LEPahl

    I enjoyed this story. It held my interest until the end. Very good writing and the nursing history was excellent.

    December 25, 2022
  • Trixie’s Mom

    I don’t usually have to finish a book, but this one I had to finish. As a Nurse, as a woman & as a crime junkie, the book spoke to me. It was excellently written & kept my attention until the final page.Will definitely look for more by this author!

    December 25, 2022
  • Kris

    Not just for nurses, but as a nurse I did enjoy the historical info. I totally fell in love with all the characters and I sure hope a sequel comes out soon!!!

    December 25, 2022

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