She wants to be one of the world’s first female doctors; romance is not in her plans.
1887: Too tall, too shy and too bookish for England, Lady Josephine moves to Holland to become one of the world’s first female doctors. With only one semester left, she has all but completed her studies when a power-hungry professor, intent on marrying her for her political connections, threatens to prevent her graduation. Together with the other Bluestockings, female comrades-in-study, she comes up with a daring, if somewhat unorthodox plan: acquire a fake fiancé to provide the protection and serenity she needs to pass her final exams.
But when her father sends her Lord Nicholas St. George, he is too much of everything: too handsome, too charming, too tall and too broad and too distracting for Josephine’s peace of mind. She needed someone to keep her professor at bay, not keep her from her work with temptations of long walks, laughing, and languorous kisses.
Just as it seems that Josephine might be able to have it all: a career as a pioneering female doctor and a true love match, everything falls apart and Josephine will find herself in danger of becoming a casualty in the battle between ambition and love.
Wow, this book was amazing! I loved how the author mixed historical facts with her story and made me feel with those young women, trying to find their way in a world that was reluctant to allow women to learn and to study.
The story kept me on my toes, I loved the main characters a lot and I loved how they interacted. I was so proud of Nicholas for not being an ...idiot and underestimating Josephine but I loved how he enjoyed her intelligence, that he was willing to change his ways, to learn how to accept her independance and how proud he was of her and everything she achieved.
Sometimes in between I was seriously upset because of the things that happened and because I feared for some newfound (book)friends of mine and to say that I detest Van Percy...well, that's probably the understatement of the century.
I also loved how Claire, Marie and Josephine as the only female students in their year worked together and stood together against their not always sympathetic fellow male students. It took a strong personality and a strong will for women to study medicin in those times even though the University of Amsterdam was more open and more welcoming than for example the british Universities but there were still many men (and women) who thought that no woman should have a place there. Wasted time because a woman should marry and have children and shouldn't meddle with all those stupid things that would get her nowhere useful - at least in the eyes of many people. unfortunately many of their fellow students shared this view and were harassing them whenever they could.
Where Nicholas was supportive and proud of Josephine and not just because it was part of his job, it is her professor Van Percy who treats her with the least respect and who constantly harrasses her. Well, that's why Josephine's father sent Lord Nicholas St. George over to help her and pose as her fake fiancé, didn't he? The only question is - did her father have something else on his mind when he chose this very handsome, very charming and utterly irresistible and most distracting man as her fake fiancé?
I really loved how open both, Nicholas and Josephine, were to their feelings even if they were not totally happy in the beginning about this potential deviation from their set course. No games of cat-and-mouse, just open minds and honesty. Josephine, being shy, bookish and due to her unusual hight (for a woman) not very confident, nees some time to adapt at the idea of a not that bad looking man caring for her but you can feel her grow and get more confident and you can feel the steel at the core of her personality that made her pursue such an unusual and difficult career. I really loved to see her spread her wings and become more confident.
A wonderful and gripping book that I couldn't put down and that lets me hope for another book by this author - and soon, please!