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Publisher's Summary

Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th-century Venice: a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entrée to this all-male profession, and inspired in her a shared mission to understand the secrets of the human body.

Then her father disappears, and Gabriella faces a crisis: She is no longer permitted to treat her patients, women who need her desperately, without her father's patronage. She sets out across Europe to find where - and why - he has gone. Following clues from his occasional enigmatic letters, Gabriella crosses Switzerland, Germany, and France, entering strange and forbidding cities. She travels to Scotland, the Netherlands, and finally to Morocco.

In each new land she probes the mystery of her father's flight and opens new mysteries of her own. Not just mysteries of ailments and treatments, but ultimate mysteries of mortality, love, and the timeless human spirit.

Filled with medical lore and sensuous, vivid details of Renaissance life, The Book of Madness and Cures is an intoxicating and unforgettable debut.

©2012 Regina O'Melveny (P)2012 Hachette Audio

What members say

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Dina
  • LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States
  • 04-19-12

Not Motivated to Finish

I was really excited to listen to this book as I'm going to Italy on vacation, and really liked the plot synopsis. But, after two hours, I gave up. The writing was very good, but it felt like more of a report than a novel. She went here. She went there. This happened. That happened. And, the main character seemed to have no personality. I hate it when a credit is wasted!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A true disappointment

I was expecting this book to be great! It had a great hook and progressed well until about 3/4 of the way through where it began to get lazy. The author seemed to "and then" the rest of the book. The ending was disappointing at best and left me feeling as if I had wasted my time and an audible credit. It had such promise!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting but maybe too strange for me

Ever author has something in mind when they write a story. Every reader gets something from that story. For me, the story about the main characters in the 1500's was really interesting, but the rest of the story read like 'ONE FLEW OVER THE COOCOE'S NEST' for me. Psychotic or schizophrenic ramblings with mythical cures. Eat from the wall and disappear---dream about something and end up someplace else----butterflies doing ?what?. Think I'm too literal about medical and psychological issues to really appreciate those parts of the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Reconciling the past and the present!

Gabriella, the main character, earned my admiration with her plucky courage and determination as she followed an adventurous and sometimes dangerous journey in pursuit of her missing father. I was envious of the devotion of her maid and manservant,as well as her new friend, Hamisch. Who will endear themselves to readers. And, her inability to see herself and her own situation as clearly as she sees the maladies of others was at times comical and at others frustrating. The glimpses of the historical perspective of illness and cures was fascinating and any writings on plants and their uses always interest me! Thank you, Regina O'Melveny, for this fascinating literary offering.