Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh's medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and - perhaps worst of all - her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.
Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city's ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St. Giles' Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah's patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers.
Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patient's, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh's dank alleyways, bawdy houses, and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh's most lucrative trades and, in doing so, puts her own life at risk.
An irresistible listen with a fantastic heroine, a beautifully drawn setting, and fascinating insights into what it was like to study medicine as a woman at that time, The Wages of Sin is a stunning debut that heralds a striking new voice in historical fiction.
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Obvious, Predictable and Disappointing
Victorian Female Doctors in Scotland
I listen to a lot of audible books each month, and I enjoyed this more than anything I've heard this year. The time period, Victorian, the location Edinburgh, Scotland, and strong female characters, 3 of my favorite things!
I don't like to give anything away so I'll just say how much I enjoyed the way Sarah's past is slowly revealed over the course of the book. I also enjoyed the mystery and how Sarah just can't give up or let go of her quest for justice.
I LOVE Mary Jane Wells! I found this book shortly after it's release date, only because I was searching for anything new by this narrator. Her talent is amazing! Her range is incredible, from the snobbish society matron to the lowly prostitute, she gives them all their own distinctive voice. Her Scottish accents are superb, but what I love more than anything is her men really sound like men! No small feat.
I realized how little I really knew about the time period. The treatment of women by others in so many situations in this book was appalling. The author shows how whether rich or poor, women were people with little choice and few or no rights. How Sarah own family treats her is heartbreaking. Most women today have no real notion of what it must have been like to live in the 1880's. I love history, and I enjoy books that can educate as well as captivate and entertain the reader.
Worth the Credit! You will not be disappointed. I am so excited for the next book in the series, although it will probably be a few years until its published.
- Jennifer L Schaffer