Summary: In 1884, Dr. Sophie Savard returns to New York to throw herself back into work following the death of her husband from tuberculosis. In New York, she is surrounded by friends and family, but also people who would love to see her fail. These are pioneering days for women in medicine and if that wasn’t enough cause for disgust and dislike among her male peers, she is also of mixed race.
Sophie’s husband left her a fortune, which she intends to put to good use by creating a scholarship for women of color to pursue medical careers as well as using her home as a dormitory. Sophie soon realizes that she must find and manage a staff in order to realize her dreams.
Meanwhile, her cousin Anna’s husband, a police officer, is dealing with a series of crimes against pregnant women. The women were murdered when they sought illegal abortions. When a prominent socialite goes missing after speaking to a person of interest in the case, everyone, especially the rumor-mongering press, fears the worst.
Sophie’s extended family faces additional challenges when a young child in their care becomes gravely ill.
Comments: Although Where the Light Enters is the second book in the series, it stands on its own. I read the first book, The Gilded Hour, when it came out in 2015 and loved it as much as this new one. In both novels, the author breathes life into her characters, including many of the more minor ones. I am hoping to get to know some of them better in future books! The historical setting is well-researched and although there are some timeline discrepancies that are spelled out in the author’s notes, they are minor. The pacing of the book is gentle, yet there were enough twists and turns in the plot lines to keep me turning the pages eagerly.
I think Sara Donati has found her writing niche in historical fiction. I read her Wilderness series several years ago. While those are more historical romance, her writing brought the settings and time period to life, foreshadowing her ability to write solid historical fiction. I still remember some of the characters in that series–a rarity for me.
Highly recommended for readers of Historical Fiction and Women’s Fiction. Also recommended for anyone with an interest in the history of women in medicine.
My Rating: 5 STARS