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Publisher's Summary

A "gorgeous, thoughtful, heartbreaking" historical novel, The Cape Doctor is the story of one man’s journey from penniless Irish girl to one of most celebrated and accomplished figures of his time (Lauren Fox, New York Times best-selling author of Send for Me).

Beginning in Cork, Ireland, the novel recounts Perry’s journey from daughter to son in order to enter medical school and provide for family, but Perry soon embraced the newfound freedom of living life as a man. From brilliant medical student in Edinburgh and London to eligible bachelor and quick-tempered physician in Cape Town, Dr. Perry thrived. When he befriended the aristocratic Cape Governor, the doctor rose to the pinnacle of society, before the two were publicly accused of a homosexual affair that scandalized the colonies and nearly cost them their lives.

E. J. Levy’s enthralling novel, inspired by the life of Dr. James Miranda Barry, brings this captivating character vividly alive.

©2021 E. J. Levy (P)2021 Little, Brown & Company

Critic Reviews

"Levy has done an absolutely superb job of novelizing Barry’s life while her realization of him as a character is flawless. He is brilliant, impetuous, unafraid (perhaps foolishly) of making enemies in a good cause, an ardent supporter of women’s rights and an equally ardent enemy of slavery.... And the book is beautifully written." (Booklist, starred review)

"An elegant and provocative spin on the life of trans icon James Miranda Barry.... Perry’s narration brims with fascinating details about medicine and social mores of the time. This beautifully written work will spark much debate."(Publishers Weekly)

“E.J. Levy’s compelling novel The Cape Doctor, born at the intersection of history and imagination, powerfully examines the fluidity and complexity of gender. Levy offers a profound meditation on identity, loneliness, and love. The Cape Doctor provides everything I come to a novel hoping for - graceful prose, first-rate storytelling, and an irresistible protagonist observed with deep compassion. I admired and adored this book.” (Lori Ostlund, author of After the Parade)

What listeners say about The Cape Doctor

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Entertaining, educational, & de ja vu for Capetown

At first, I found the book a little interesting but not grabbing, until the story moved to the Cape, and the story became more complex. The challenges that Dr. Perry had to overcome were daunting. She had a strong character and she was able to voice her beliefs that she could not have done as a man. There are real women of yore who also assumed a man's likeness, so this book gave a good idea of what they endured.

Having spent some time in Capetown, reading a little of what it was like in the 1800s was a particular enjoyment.