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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Bloodletting and Germs: A Doctor in Nineteenth-Century Rural New York by Thomas Rosenthal is a historical novel that explores strong medical themes and the work of Dr. Jabez Allen, a setting that is at the turning point in medical history. Dr. Allen is not particularly loved by his peers who reject his application for a license. But to practice, he will have to be intelligent and to outwit his enemies, using a drugstore in rural New York as a front. This novel showcases the work of a brave man who gave everything to his country, a doctor whose doors were wide open to anyone in need, and who remained faithful to his motto: “No Cure, No Pay.”
Thomas Rosenthal writes in a style that is evocative and provides powerful historical hints. The setting is brilliantly captured, with shades of the Civil War, anthrax, and cholera pandemic. The personality of Dr. Allen is ingeniously developed and readers encounter a man passionate about his service to society, backed by an indefatigable wife who doubles as an Underground Railroad activist. While this is a novel that transports readers back to a historical moment and allows them to relive some of the events of the time, it is an inspiration to readers who want to make a difference and anyone with a dream that can impact lives. The writing is beautiful and the reader is left in no doubt that this is a rich novel, well-researched, and beautifully written. Bloodletting and Germs: A Doctor in Nineteenth-Century Rural New York is both captivating and inspiring, a compelling historical novel.