Anyone who likes a good story well told is sure to enjoy this, although it is more of a boy's than a girl's book. It is about Greg Donlewis who was apprenticed to his surgeon father. Their practice was in rural Virginia of the early 1800's. The senior Donlewis, a respected practitioner, received his training abroad and later opened his home to outstanding students who wished to prepare under him. His youngest son Greg is a natural for this work in every respect except (at first) the wielding of knife and needle, for he feels the pain that he must cause for a patient's eventual relief. Every aspect of his training, his school, his dress, the surgical techniques of his time -- in fact the whole milieu of his young life -- reveals the attention to detail and the accuracy that is all too often missing in historical novels for this age group. The sub-plot concerns Bart, a runaway bound boy, whose life and health are saved by Greg and his family. Unfortunately, Bart is stitched into a standard happy ending -- an unknown grandfather is turned up who is fortuitously local and fiscally sound. Before this however, the friendship of the two boys (who complement each other's strengths and weaknesses) provides a good supporting story for Greg's final mastery of his fear of causing pain.