Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard


Book Review: The Historical Novel Society

Historical Novel Society book review

The Beauty Doctor

BY 

Abigail Platford yearns to be a doctor, like her father, but since his death her hopes have been in abeyance. Then she meets Franklin Rome, an attractive older man with a rakish smile and the nostalgic smell of antiseptic, and decides to ask him for a job. She learns that he works in ‘transformative surgery’, and at first he hires her as a foil to attract business: he believes that her good looks are an example of the kind of beauty women want. Eventually she gets to assist him with surgeries, and her enthusiasm for this eventually leads to an affair with Dr. Rome. However, things begin to take a turn for the worse as Abigail begins to understand more about her lover’s hidden business and private life.

Abigail is an engaging heroine. I like that she does not rely on any men to save her. Even though she is devastated to find out the truth about Dr. Rome, she holds true to her commitment to care for those less fortunate.

I liked this story. It kept me reading and did not disappoint. The story touches on the eugenics movement and the unregulated practice of medicine. Imagine using paraffin as the material for cosmetic surgery! I would recommend this book as an easy read, with an interesting plot and insight into the practice of medicine in the early twentieth century.

Susie Pruett

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