IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAMP by Susanne Dunlap

IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAMP

Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

Wrongfully dismissed from her job as a parlor maid, 17-year-old Molly Fraser desperately needs work to help support her impoverished family, but though she’s intelligent and hard-working, an illiterate servant girl fired for stealing has little hope of finding respectable employment in 1854 London. Learning that Florence Nightingale is assembling experienced nurses to care for soldiers wounded fighting the Crimean War in Turkey, Molly relies on quick wits, true grit and funds borrowed from her admirer, Will, to join them. There, following Nightingale’s impassioned, prickly but brilliant example, Molly discovers her own passion for nursing and acquires suitors: Will, now in the army, and a dedicated young doctor. Molly’s exceptionally authentic and appealing character powers this well-crafted novel. While her lack of education is never minimized, her gifts—emotional intelligence, sense of justice and empathy—are both entirely plausible and essential to her task. Puzzlingly, several scenes proclaim that Molly also possesses a supernatural gift for healing; these undermine a story that is otherwise as deeply grounded in reality as the new profession it celebrates. Nightingale’s vision of nursing care didn’t turn on a supernatural knack for “healing” but on her determination to treat patients—the healing and dying alike—as human beings entitled to decent food, shelter and compassionate care on their difficult, frightening journey. Overall, an honorable homage and an absorbing read. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: April 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59990-565-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2011




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