The Book of Madness and Cures

A Novel
By Regina O'Melveny (Trade Paperback, 2013)
A brilliant debut about a woman doctor in Renaissance Venice, forced to cross Europe in search of her father.

Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th century Venice: a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entree to this all-male profession, and inspired her at every turn. Then her father disappears and Gabriella faces a crisis: she is no longer permitted to treat her patients 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 border after border, probing the mystery of her father's flight, and opening 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.
  • Little, Brown and Company
    • Format: Trade Paperback

    • Price: $15.00 US/$17.00 CAN

    • ISBN-13: 9780316195812

    • On Sale Date: 06/18/2013

    • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

    Formats Available: Hardcover Book, Trade Paperback, Audiobook, Audiobook, Electronic Book

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A brilliant debut about a woman doctor in Renaissance Venice, forced to cross Europe in search of her father.

Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th century Venice: a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entree to this all-male profession, and inspired her at every turn. Then her father disappears and Gabriella faces a crisis: she is no longer permitted to treat her patients 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 border after border, probing the mystery of her father's flight, and opening 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.

Regina O'Melveny's poetry has been published widely in literary journals, garnering several prizes. She grew up at the edge of pungent chaparral in La Mesa, California, and chose to enroll at Callison College--a school of International Studies at the University of the Pacific--almost solely based upon the fact that the second year would be spent in India. Thus began her many extended travels that would later inspire The Book of Madness and Cures, her first novel. She lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

  • Regina O'Melveny on THE BOOK OF MADNESS AND CURES

  • "Regina O'Melveny's debut novel, The Book of Madness and Cures, is a marvelous, inventive story of a singular courageous woman on a quest to find her missing father.  Set in the Renaissance, it explores the wonders, and dangers, of Europe and Asia Minor and recreates a world--exotic and familiar, sensuous and beguiling--where a defiant woman, practicing the ancient healing arts, is believed to be contrary to the laws of God and Man." (Kathleen Kent, author of The Traitor's Wife and The Heretic's Daughter).

  • "....[A]n elegant portrait of a resolute woman who practices medicine in 16th-century Venice...The writing is superb, particularly when the author describes..exotic locales and ancient superstitions. The book will especially attract readers who enjoy female­ centered historical novels whose plots are not driven by romance." (Lucy Roehrig, Library Journal).

  • "[Gabriella Mondini's] journey is conveyed with earthy and sensual brio [and] clearly well-researched evocations of time and place, and...poetical description....You will love this adventure." (Elle Magazine).

  • "Poet O'Melveny's debut fiction is like a lyrical composite creature-part father/daughter epistolary novel, part aristocratic diary, part adventurer's travelogue, and part compendium of allegorical diseases...Readers will be delighted by O'Melveny's whimsical embellishments." (Publisher's Weekly).

  • "[A] picaresque fiction debut...a provocative window into early medical pronouncements on everything from depression to claustrophobia..." (Jan Stuart, The Boston Globe).

  • "O'Melveny's writing is smooth and evocative. Gabriella proves a likeable traveling companion, and her first-person narration keeps things moving along....Readers will find much to enjoy in this colorful, picaresque tale." (David Maine, Popmatters).

  • "Gorgeously written, and filled with details about science and medicine, this is an unforgettable debut novel." (Tara Quinn, Cleveland Plain Dealer).

  • "Infused with the sensuous places and metaphorical natural world that recur in [O'Melveny's] poetry..." (Anne Gray Fischer, Ploughshares).

  • "Intriguing.... Every new chapter brings a new adventure and a new piece of the puzzle." (Claire Rivero, The Washington Independent Review of Books).

  • "Reminiscent of The Red Tent, Anita Diamant's book-club favorite..." (Susannah Meadows, The New York Times).

  • "[A] darkly whimsical first novel..." (Kirkus Reviews).

  • "Regina O'Melveny has created a 16th century, intellectually sensual and poetic novel featuring Gabriella Mondini as the protagonist. Gabriella is a female Doctor in Venice who not only loses her father and mentor but her ability to practice medicine. She is not one to conform to the expected life of the women of her time, a life these losses would mandate. She goes with the only option that really works for her; she finds she must go in search of her father..." (Book Passage (San Francisco, CA)).

  • "THE BOOK OF MADNESS AND CURES was written in such beautiful language. I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed the development of the female lead character. I thought it was a wonderful book, and cannot wait until it comes out so I can recommend it..." (Barbara's Bookstore (Burr Ridge, IL)).

  • "I just cracked open THE BOOK OF MADNESS AND CURES last night and stayed up till 1:30 am reading...I love the detail and Gabriella's spirit." (The Bookstore (Michigan City, IN)).

  • "THE BOOK OF MADNESS AND CURES is a rich and ravishing debut. In reading it not only will you relate to Gabriella's quest to regain her footing in the healing arts for those women in need; O'Melveny's warm and lush writing will give you an experience of a woman's life during the Renaissance that will not be forgotten. This is a must read for those lovers of exquisite historical fiction." (Bank Square Books (Mystic, CT)).

Formats

Product Details

The Book of Madness and Cures
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $15.00 US/$17.00 CAN
  • Pages: 352
  • Physical Dimensions: 5-1/2" x 8-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316195812
  • On Sale Date: 06/18/2013
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