Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Where The Light Enters by Sara Donati

"She was learning to ignore the noises men made when they were feeling put out by a female."

Where The Light Enters by Sara Donati is an enormous book. It has 650 pages and almost as many characters, but do not be intimidated! This rich, emotional story is also incredibly readable.

This is the story of Dr. Sophie Savard, an obstetrician returning to New York City in the late 1800s after the untimely death of her husband. She is reunited with her dear friend and cousin, as well as fellow physician, Dr. Anna Savard. As Sophie tries to rebuild her life in New York and create more opportunities for disadvantaged women to study medicine, Anna's husband, Detective Jack Mezzanotte seeks their support for two of his cases. One is the missing wife of a prominent banker, and the second is the death of a women who may be tied to a serial murder from the previous year.

Where the Light Enters can be considered a follow up to The Gilded Hour, but it also stands entirely on its own. I have not read The Gilded Hour, and I enjoyed reading Where the Light Enters very much.

The first part of book is told through a collection of letters, medical reports, police reports, and news articles that set the scene as Sophie returns to New York. Letters and news articles continue to be woven into the narrative as the book continues. This story not in a hurry to get anywhere. It takes its time, unfolding slowly. The writing is both descriptive and engaging.

This is a novel about grief, family, friendship, race, and the status of women. It is about early medical wonderments on mental health and the tension between religion and science.

The last third of the book is where the action really picks up with regards to the cases Jack is working on and how Anna and Sophie are involved. It's not always an easy read because of some of the content, but this story reflects the reality of the times. Where the Light Enters subtly highlights how far we've come for women and children in many ways, alongside the areas where we yet still have work to do.

Content warning - pregnancy loss and abortion


Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book from Penguin Random House Canada for review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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