This was such a fun read, and perfect for historical fiction fans and casual fans alike! A unique hook—bonesetting in 1700s London. And a very uniquely endearing character—Endurance "Durie" Proudfoot.
In the mid 1700s, Endurance "Durie" Proudfoot enters the world in the small English town of Lewes. She's larger than most women, stronger than most women, and her no-nonsense honest attitude takes up as much space in the room as her physical presence. In short, Durie sticks out. And not in an acceptable way for ladies to stick out in history.
Her father is a bonesetter, someone who sets people's broken bones, sprains, dislocations, and more through a hands-on knowledge of anatomy and brute strength. It's a "knack," according to him, and one that's been passed down through the line of men in their family for generations.
Durie has the knack too—it's just, she's a woman.
When circumstances change and Durie has to follow her sister to London, Durie slowly realizes that her knack might be worth practicing here in London society. There's a lot of people with ailments, and the modern doctors with their random poultices are making things worse. Durie's never been one to let things sit when something good can be done, so she starts to practice.
A lot happens when Durie--with her men's boots, large frame, blunt attitude, and undeniable talent—enters the London scene. She's in for an adventure....
That Bonesetter Woman took me by complete surprise. I am a very, VERY rare historical fiction reader—I tend to fall into these books via some other hook that gets me invested. In this case, it was the act of bonesetting.
Bonesetting as a career was new to me, and immediately piqued my interest as I love all things medical history and macabre. Obviously, this fit the bill!
However, it wasn't the act of bonesetting that kept me turning the pages of this novel. It was Durie herself. I fell in love with this blunt, kind-hearted woman who stuck out in all the ways it was possible to stuck out like a sore thumb at the time. I quickly found myself invested in Durie's journey, her passions, and her capacity for kindness and love.
This is a character-driven story with a lot of humor and heart.
I will say, due to the above pros in this tale, there were a few cons by comparison. This plot was predictable at every turn—do NOT come for a unique and surprisingly take on this type of "girl goes to the big city and shoots her shot" type of story. All of the things that happen in that stereotyped tale happen here, and with the same outcomes you'd expect.
However, if you can put the predictableness aside, this story will steal your attention and your heart anyway. Go Durie, go!
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Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.