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.
Moondance of Stonewylde
By Kit Berry
The cracks are beginning to show in the idyllic Stonewylde community. As Yul and Sylvie's forbidden friendship grows into something deeper, Magus' true nature starts to emerge through his charming façade. Ever since Yul defied him at the Summer Solstice, his power has been waning, and his mood darkening. Yul is the problem - and Magus is going to deal with him. Nobody challenges his authority and survives.Sylvie is in danger too. Magus has discovered her secret and now, for all its beauty, her magical gift and Magus' desire to possess it is putting her life at risk. As each full moon rises Sylvie is made to suffer more, and the agony she endures as her magic is stolen leaves her increasingly exhausted, sapping her will to fight back. Unless Magus can be stopped, every full moon could be Sylvie's last.As glorious summer turns to golden autumn, the magic of Stonewylde is becoming a curse to the very people it should nurture ... Are Yul and Sylvie the only ones who see the truth behind Magus' mask of kindness? Why is everyone so deceived by his charm - and why is Mother Heggy, the mysterious wise-woman the only one who will help them? The darkness of winter is coming, and as it does Sylvie and Yul's lives hang by a whisker. Either they will save each other, or history will repeat itself at the sinister standing stone above the cliffs.
Magus of Stonewylde
By Kit Berry
How far would you go to save your child?Exhausted single-mum Miranda is prepared to try anything. Suffering from baffling allergies and illnesses, her teenage daughter Sylvie has been written off by doctors. An offer of alternative therapy at a grand Dorset estate may be her last hope and so, against her better judgement, Miranda grabs this life-line.Stonewylde is a beautiful and magical place, a sanctuary free from modern taint. The retreat is remote, hidden away behind high walls and iron gates, and soon the rat-race outside fades to insignificance. Stonewylde is ruled by the charismatic Magus, who vows to cure Sylvie and give both their hearts' desires. He promises the earth and it seems he can deliver.But everything comes at a price. Life at Stonewylde is too idyllic, too wholesome, too perfect. The ancient rituals in the stone circle are not quite what they seem and neither is the Magus, whose sinister sensuality hides a darker secret. Sylvie and Miranda join the community and both fall in love for the first time. But their arrival triggers a brutal chain of events that could destroy the unique world of Stonewylde.Mother and daughter will eventually discover the truth: Stonewylde may cure, but it can also kill.