This was an absolutely fantastic book! It had historical fiction, murder-mystery, secret identity, and romance, and I was unable to put it down!
Una is the main character, and she’s a thief on the NYC streets. After losing her mom in a fire, and losing her dad to drugs, she ends up on her own on the streets. She’s an excellent thief. She has rules for herself, and she follows them to keep herself safe. Then, one night when she witnesses a murder, and is framed for it. On the run with a need to go into hiding, she gets admitted to a probationary class for a nursing school.
I loved this premise. I was really interested in the early days of nursing, and I loved that Una originally had no interest in nursing, she just needed a place to lay low. It was fun to watch her grow throughout the story as she makes a friend and finds a little romance in her life. But all the time, there’s the murders that keep happening, and Una finds herself in the middle of it. It was such a good story, and while I figured out what was happening, it did not deter me from enjoying the reveal at all.
I would highly recommend this story for readers that enjoy fast-paced historical fiction with mystery!
Where to Find This Book:
The Alienist meets The Light of Luna Park in a fascinating historical novel inspired by the little-known story of America’s first nursing school, as a young female grifter in 1880s New York evades the police by conning her way into Bellevue Hospital’s training school for nurses…
In the slums of 1880s New York, Una Kelly has grown up to be a rough-and-tumble grifter, able to filch a pocketbook in five seconds flat. But when another con-woman pins her for a murder she didn’t commit, Una is forced to flee. Running from the police, Una lies her way into an unlikely refuge: the nursing school at Bellevue Hospital.
Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. Where once nurses were assumed to be ignorant and unskilled, Bellevue prizes discipline, intellect, and moral character, and only young women of good breeding need apply. At first, Una balks at her prim classmates and the doctors’ endless commands. Yet life on the streets has prepared her for the horrors of injury and disease found on the wards, and she slowly gains friendship and self-respect.
Just as she finds her footing, Una’s suspicions about a patient’s death put her at risk of exposure, and will force her to choose between her instinct for self-preservation, and exposing her identity in order to save others.
Amanda Skenandore brings her medical expertise to a page-turning story that explores the evolution of modern nursing–including the grisly realities of nineteenth-century medicine–as seen through the eyes of an intriguing and dynamic heroine.
Just the Facts:
The Nurse’s Secret by Amanda Skenandore
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Pub Date: June 28, 2022
Amanda Skenandore is the award-winning author of three historical novels, The Second Life of Mirielle West, The Undertaker’s Assistant, and Between Earth & Sky. She’s also a registered nurse and certified infection preventionist. When she’s not writing or chasing germs, Amanda spends her time curled up on the couch with a book and cup of tea or tending to her many houseplants. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband Steven and their pet turtle Lenore.
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I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.