Review by Lavender Ironside
Forgotten charts rare territory in the historical fiction genre: It’s centered around medical history, and follows the early career of a healer/nurse during the American Revolutionary War.
Abigail is a woman who has fallen from high society. When her abusive husband is mobbed and killed by Patriots under suspicion of being a Tory, Abigail eventually finds herself homeless and searching for a way to get by in life. A chance acquaintance with two Patriot soldiers leads her to the camp of the American army, under the command of General George Washington. Abigail’s small skill with home remedies affords her a place among the medical tents, where the staff is stretched thin and unable to cope with the disease and injuries of war.
As Abigail’s knowledge and confidence in her new role grows, she becomes a favorite among the soldiers and eventually develops a cure for a disease which has been raging uncontrolled throughout the camp. Many camp personages are unhappy with her rise to minor celebrity, and despise her for reasons ranging from apparent jealousy to misogyny. Abigail faces perils and enjoys kindnesses as both her enemies and friends increase in number. Eventually she accepts a position working in a doctor’s surgery clinic.
It is my assumption that this is the first book in a series, for the story ends abruptly with little resolution of the open conflicts.
The book is short – a novella – and is full of familiar names from history. Abigail forms relationships with George Washington, his wife Martha, Alexander Hamilton (and there is a hint of a burgeoning romance there), and more important figures from the Revolutionary War. It’s a fast read with occasionally difficult moments, as the author has clearly done her research on medicine during the War. Wrenching details of the treatment of serious war wounds and illnesses are not spared. If more books are to come, the series promises to be engaging and informative, and it’s nice to see a medical historical series taking shape, as such specialty niches are rare in historical fiction.