Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati

Where the Light Enters

Sara Donati

Unable to ignore the plight of New York's less fortunate, two intrepid female doctors draw on all resources to protect their patients.

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From the international bestselling author of The Gilded Hour comes Sara Donati's enthralling epic about two trailblazing female doctors in nineteenth-century New York
 
Obstetrician Dr. Sophie Savard returns home to the achingly familiar rhythms of Manhattan in the early spring of 1884 to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. With the help of Dr. Anna Savard, her dearest friend, cousin, and fellow physician she plans to continue her work aiding the disadvantaged women society would rather forget.
 
As Sophie sets out to construct a new life for herself, Anna's husband, Detective-Sergeant Jack Mezzanotte calls on them both to consult on two new cases: the wife of a prominent banker has disappeared into thin air, and the corpse of a young woman is found with baffling wounds that suggest a killer is on the loose.  In New York it seems that the advancement of women has brought out the worst in some men. Unable to ignore the plight of New York's less fortunate, these intrepid cousins draw on all resources to protect their patients.


Advance Galley Reviews

This was the first book written by this author. I was pretty confused as the story began because I had not read Sara Donati’s previous book, Gilded Hours. There were a lot of characters that I had trouble keeping track of. I was able to follow the main storylines though and enjoyed the well-written story very much. It is a long book so there is a lot to explain. I found the storyline very interesting of the two surgeons in the late 1800s and how they were treated and sometimes accepted. The world was not used to such accomplished women. The book was well-researched. I was drawn into their world as the story was told. Thank you to First To Read for the opportunity to read this book.

Set in NYC during the 1880's, the Doctors Savard (Sophie and Anna) continue to deal with life, family, and their medical practice which also uncovers some solutions to missing people and murder related to malpractice. I enjoyed the glimpse into NYC during this time period with its class distinctions, racial biases, and historical view of medicine. I didn't realize that this book is part of a larger work by this author involving the Savard family and their ancestors, so getting to know all of the characters and connections was overwhelming at first. Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for the free copy of this book.

This book has a little bit of everything: romance, historical accuracy, drama, murder, mystery, and humanity to spare. A fantastic story of families (be they by blood or gathered) that mainly follows both the lives of two female doctors in New York during the 1880s, it also includes a gripping mystery and some very heartfelt topics. This is the first book I've read from Donati and I admit to being a little overwhelmed in the beginning by the sheer number of people and situations. The fact that the book just drops you into what feels like the middle of the story with a non-traditional narrative didn't help much. However, I actually enjoyed the originality of it once I figured out how the letters and the newspaper articles were a way to place the reader into a complicated situation. It's still a bit much for someone not familiar with the characters, but it's manageable and easy to get over once you get pulled in by the superb writing. So much happens in the book that I'm not even going to try to summarize it for fear of giving anything away. Let's just say that it certainly entertains, enlightens, and gives you much to think about.

Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati is an epic historical mystery and worth reading every captivating chapter. Her book includes daily life, medical practice and police procedure in the late 19th century. The reader is transported to the era of the 1880‘s with to die for historical details. She describes and examines the effects prejudice on many because of their religion, sex, race or anything out of what is considered normal. This is a complex historical mystery of unbelievable scope and unpredictable conclusions. Donati’s writings are of the caliber that so few authors achieve. I asked myself why I bothered with some of the books I have read. My answer is I‘m waiting for the next author or book of distinction and this is one.

Where the Light Enters Sara Donati A delightful read. It is a story of a family that has several different branches and how they come together and support everyone. It is written from every character’s own point of view and every character has their own voice. Every voice is different from the other. It is a rich and powerful story and very well written. It is a story that could be read many times with more taken from it each time. I will look forward to a sequel. I received this from Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

Where the Light Enters is an absorbing, thick read. Although it can be read as a stand alone book, I recommend reading the first book in the saga, The Gilded Hours first. I was lost through the first part and the author's unconventional prose through letters and newspaper articles. Donati delivers compelling characters and has several story lines that intertwine slowly. I was pleased that she has continued the Bonner line from her fabulous Into the Wilderness series.

I am a huge fan of Sara Donati. I enjoyed the "Gilded Hour" because it brought me back in touch with characters from her "Into the Wilderness" series. Sara's writing is so powerful that you begin to see her characters as cherished friends that you want to keep in touch with. "Where the Light Enters" (WTLE) picks up the story of the Doctors Savard from the "Gilded Hour" (GH). I have to admit that I am somewhat disappointed that there seems to be several months between where GH ended and WTLE began. We are brought up to date by a series of letters between Sophie and Cap, who are still in Switzerland, and the family along with newspaper clippings. While the letters and clippings did a great job of explaining what was going on, I am sure there was plenty of drama that could not be expressed through correspondence. What did continue was the major story line about the brutal murders of pregnant women. Sara did a masterful job of telling this story. She provided very subtle clues but never gave away the actual killer until it was time. I know I was surprised when I figured out "who done it". The villains from GH are still villains in WTLE but this time, they are secondary to the times as villain instead of individual villains. Comstock is still there and is still a villain but the real villain seemed to be the way society treated women, children and people of color. My definition of society includes organized religion both catholic and protestant. I enjoyed spending more time with the extended families of both the Savards and the Mezzanotte's. I also love how Cap's uncle has become the legal advisor for this large extended family. The new or expanded characters are also a treat like Mrs. Griffin, Elise's friend Sally, Dr. Martindale, Sam Reason, Laura Lee, and Dr. Lambert. I think all of these characters will be very important moving forward with GH, the medical information was very interesting. It is intriguing to see how diseases such as lymphoma and leukemia were treated back then. All in all this was a great read. It was like getting together with a good friend you have not seen for a while - you laugh a little, you cry a little, but most of all, you enjoy being together. I am already looking forward to the next book in the series.

Having read and enjoyed the first book in this series, I looked forward to reading Where the Light Enters. It was interesting reading about the Savard cousins, Sophie as she adapt to her new situations as a widow returning to New York after her year abroad nursing her husband, and Anne, a surgeon married to a police detective. The story revolves around a number of foci: Sophie’s settling into her new role as a wealthy widow, the orphaned Russo children who live under the guardianship of the Mezzanotte family, and the investigation into a number of suspicious deaths of women. I felt this last story line was the most interesting and I wish the book would have concentrated more on it. I also think the book was unnecessarily long and could have benefitted from more editing and focus. That said, I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Thanks to First to Read for this ARC. Great continuation to this series. Sad, honest, and brimming with empathy and growth. Donati knows her audience well enough to give us intrigue, love, and a mys try that touches every time period.

 


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