By Wendy Moore
Medicine, in the early 1800s, was a brutal business. Operations were performed without anaesthesia while conventional treatment relied on leeches, cupping and toxic potions. The most surgeons could offer by way of pain relief was a large swig of brandy. Onto this scene came John Elliotson, the dazzling new hope of the medical world. Charismatic and ambitious, Elliotson was determined to transform medicine from a hodge-podge of archaic remedies into a practice informed by the latest science. In this aim he was backed by Thomas Wakley, founder of the new magazine, the Lancet, and a campaigner against corruption and malpractice.Then, in the summer of 1837, a French visitor - the self-styled Baron Jules Denis Dupotet - arrived in London to promote an exotic new idea: mesmerism. The mesmerism mania would take the nation by storm but would ultimately split the two friends, and the medical world, asunder - throwing into focus fundamental questions about the fine line between medicine and quackery, between science and superstition.
By Julia Gregson
Oxfordshire, 1947. Exhausted by the war and nursing a tragic secret, Kit Smallwood flees to Wickam Farm to recuperate. There she throws herself into helping Daisy set up a charity sending midwives to India. Daisy's plan is fraught with danger. With newly-acquired Independence, many of India's people furiously resent the English for withdrawing so quickly, blaming them for the riots that left millions dead. When Kit meets Anto, a handsome, complicated but charming trainee doctor nearing the end of his English education, she falls utterly in love. Anto makes her laugh and marriage should be the easiest thing in the world. But when he informs his family that he is shortly to return home with an English bride, his parents are appalled. Despite being Anglo-Indian herself, Kit's own mother is equally horrified. She has spent most of her life trying to erase a painful past and losing her daughter to an Indian man is her worst fear realized. As they journey to a new life in India, Kit begins to realize the seriousness of what she has undertaken. Thrown into the heart of a traditional Indian family in a rapidly changing world, Kit has much to learn about the nature of home and the depth of her love for Anto.
By Katherine Webb
The spellbinding and unsettling new novel from the author of bestsellers THE LEGACY and THE UNSEEN.Dark truths. Beautiful lies.Bath, England, 1821. Rachel Crofton escapes the binds of her unhappy employment as a governess by marrying a charming self-made businessman. She sees a chance to create the family and home she has so long been without, but her new life soon takes an unexpected turn. Through her new husband's connections, Rachel is invited to become the companion of the reclusive Jonathan Alleyn, a man tortured by memories of the Peninsula War, and tormented by the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart, Alice. Starling, foundling servant to the Alleyn family, is convinced that Alice, the woman she loved as a sister, was stolen from her. Did Alice run away? Or did something altogether more sinister occur? Starling is determined to uncover the truth. Others want only to forget, and will go to extreme lengths to do so.Rachel's arrival has an unsettling effect on the whole Alleyn household, and suddenly it seems that the dark deeds of the past will no longer stay contained. Shattering truths lurk behind Bath's immaculate facades, but the courage Rachel and Starling need to bring these truths to light will come at a very high price.