The Heart Specialist

Claire Holden Rothman


The Heart Specialist

The Heart Specialist

  • Title: The Heart Specialist
  • Author: Claire Holden Rothman
  • ISBN: 9781569479452
  • Page: 287
  • Format: Hardcover



Set in Quebec at the turn of the 20th century, The Heart Specialist is the epic story of Agnes White, a lonely orphaned girl fascinated by the wrong things microscopes, dissections, and anatomy instead of ladylike interests who rises to the status of one of the world s most celebrated pioneering women doctors Not only does she break through patriarchal academic barSet in Quebec at the turn of the 20th century, The Heart Specialist is the epic story of Agnes White, a lonely orphaned girl fascinated by the wrong things microscopes, dissections, and anatomy instead of ladylike interests who rises to the status of one of the world s most celebrated pioneering women doctors Not only does she break through patriarchal academic barriers she masters the science of the human heart, becoming a scholar of international fame, all in a place and time inimical to intelligent women.When Agnes is small, her father, a French Canadian doctor living in Montreal, is charged with the murder of his handicapped sister Although he is eventually acquitted, his reputation is ruined, and he flees, abandoning Agnes and her pregnant mother Less than a year later, her mother dies of consumption, leaving Agnes and her baby sister Laure on their own Agnes s sparse memories of her father have an abiding impact on her, and she is determined to find him, as well as to follow in his footsteps as a doctor, even though medical schools in Canada are closed to women at the time She eventually gets her degree and finds a niche for herself as the curator of the McGill University pathology museum But even as her professional star rises, her life is solitary and her happiness remains incomplete because of her missing father One of the only clues in her quest to find him is a strange, misshapen heart that teaches her an invaluable lesson about love Agnes ultimately must recognize that though she s a world reknowned expert on the human heart, she still doesn t understand the her own.Inspired by the career of Maude Abbott, one of Canada s first female physicians, The Heart Specialist is a novel about the mysterious, painful journey into selfhood.


Recent Comments "The Heart Specialist"

Long listed for the Giller Prize in 2009, The Heart Specialist is meaty historical fictional based closely on Maude Abbott, Canada's first female physician and an eminent pathologist. Factually, the story is about as close to true as one can get but the license of fiction definitely gave Claire Rothman liberty to bring her characters to life in the late 19th Century. The path to become educated at a university, in this story with Agnes White, was a fight and in Montreal, McGill University was hi [...]

Love Story Entwined with Medical HistoryThis is a sweet story about a woman’s journey to becoming a doctor near the turn of the 20th century. Of course there’s a love story that accompanies it. The settings are wonderful starting in Montreal, where Agnes’ family home overlooks the St. Lawrence, dipping into New England and on to England and France. Rothman does a good job giving a feel for these places, especially Montreal and Calais. The medical information is also entertaining as Agnes [...]

What I liked was the plain language and the dramatic pull of the plot. The Heart Specialist was believably Victorian. The view point character, Agnes, was likeable. Her very quiet romance with Jacob provided enough suspense to keep things going even though it was a little hard to believe anyone so bright as Agnes, could be so blind for so long to her subordinate's feelings. It was also disappointing that while the author did a grand job of exposing the prejudice of McGill toward prospective fema [...]

The story of Agnes White - an orphan raised by her grandmother who is determined to follow in the footsteps of her father (a renowned doctor who left her as a child after being accused of murder) even though medical schools are closed to women. The book follows the story of Agnes through the years and shows her hardships and successes as she continues looking for her father - the one missing piece in her life.I really enjoyed this book. I fell in love with Agnes and her story from the first few [...]

3.5 stars | Grade: B-I looked briefly up from my notes. I was surrounded by hearts, sectioned and preserved. Hearts with holes. Hearts with leaking valves or thickened walls. Hearts with narrow or transposed aortas. I closed my eyes.Summary. The Heart Specialist is the story of Agnes White, a young woman who becomes one of the first female doctors in Canada in the early 1900s. It's inspired by Maude Abbott's career, who was in fact one of Canada's first female physicians. The book follows Agnes [...]

Really enjoyed this story about Agnes White who was one of the first woman doctors in Canada. The story starts in the late 1800's and includes history of World War I and the Spanish Flu as well as women trying to take a place in a man's world.

I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of this book, which is inspired by the true story of one of Canada's first female physicians. The descriptions of Agnes dissecting squirrels in a barn and such were pretty intriguing, especially if you're at all interested in biology or forensics. It was also interesting to read about the obstacles placed in the way of female education during the 19th century, even at well-respected universities, and I really liked much of the writing, which felt unexpectedly n [...]

The was a good read, just not what I expected. I thought I was going to get historical fiction and instead, more an examination of loss and obsession. Certainly there were historical details, and you get a glimpse into the battle for women to become doctor's in the late 1800s in Canada, just not enough. Still a good story.

This is a well-written book with a great storyline and a fast pace. I loved the main character, Agnes. But, I didn't love the ending. With all the build up of the situation with the father, I found the end to be somewhat disappointing.

Canada, 1800: ispirata alla vera storia di Maude Abbot, una delle prime dottoresse canadese, “La specialista del cuore” è entrato immediatamente tra le letture più belle di quest'anno.E' un libro che ho divorato e letteralmente adorato, la storia è interessante già di per sé ma a renderla così coinvolgente dal mio punto di vista è stata la protagonista:Agnes è una personaggio eccezionale: ha un carattere forte ma sotto sotto molto sensibile, ha costanza e intelligenza, è curiosa e t [...]

Loosely based on the life of Maude Abbott (1869 - 1940), one of Canada's first female doctors, The Heart Specialist is very well-written historical fiction. Rothman is a fine story-teller, and I found the subject matter fascinating: turn of the century medicine and how women's growing part in the field was facilitated by all of the males going off to war. I was thoroughly drawn into the story, and found the characters credible and well-developed. The growing field of cardiology was fueled by phy [...]

I loved the story line of her triumph as a woman doctor, cringed when she worked for little or no pay, and felt it was all done well in context of that time. However, the overall story had some gaps. It seemed like the longing for her father was played down in the middle of the book and surfaced without a building passion towards the end when she found him. I wanted to know more about Miss Kerry and what made her return. She was a hero in this story. I also enjoyed learning about Montreal and th [...]

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History+Medical+a little mystery=always a winner for me

The Heart Specialist was an interesting read that caught my eye , and hooked me early on. Here is how this book started out:January 1882, St. Andrews East, Quebec." All morning I had been waiting for death, even though when I finally came the change was so incremental I nearly missed it. I had laid the squirrel out on a crate and covered it with a rag to keep it from freezing. Blood no longer flowed from the wound on its head, although it still looked red and angry. A dog or some other animal mu [...]

A Woman Ahead Of Her TimeThe Heart Specialist is the first novel by Claire Holden Rothman. It is a work of historical fiction, based on the career of Maude Abbott, one of Canada's first female physicians. In a brief web search on Dr. Abbott, it seems that the major details of this book parallel Dr. Abbott's life.The story takes place in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and is told from the perspective of Agnes White. Agnes is an orphan, being raised by her maternal grandmother, along with her you [...]

>>Original post: thereadersbookblogBy far one of the most engrossing novels I've read this year, The Heart Specialist is a groundbreaking debut by Claire Holden Rothman who is sure to gain notoriety with her eloquent writing and colorful story-telling. Inspired by one of Montreal's first woman doctors, this novel is a beautiful depiction of the battles fought by women to gain entry into the male-dominated medical field.Agnes White is a strange child who grows up to be a strange adult. Rath [...]

Inspired by the true stories of the first female doctors, The Heart Specialist promises a story of overcoming adversity and struggles to gain acceptance in a male-dominated world. The novel also promises a mystery and family drama as Agnes searches for clues to her father’s whereabouts who deserted the family after possibly murdered his mentally imbalanced sister. Unfortunately, the novel does not deliver on these promises or any of the other intriguing plots and characters Claire Holden Rothm [...]

I need to share my personal feelings that I had while reading this book with you. I love reading biographies and also anything to do with medicine. But this book left me with a bad taste in mouth. Somehow I developed a fondness for Dr. Maude Abbott and wanted to protect her even though she has passed away four years after she retired in 1940. During the part covering Dr. Maude Abbott's childhood, it was so gloomy that I wondered if I could finish reading 'The Heart Specialist'. I peeked in the A [...]

Set in Quebec in the late 1800's and inspired by the work and life of one of Canada's first female doctors, The Heart Specialist follows Agnes White as she struggles to become a physician at a time when medicine was a world dominated by men. Agnes's father was a renowned physician but left Agnes and her family when she was young, after he became caught up in a scandal. Growing up, Agnes was different from the other girls around her: she was not interested in her looks, dolls, or boys, instead sh [...]

I think I have been searching for this book for years without ever knowing it. This past winter, I went on a Canadian Lit binge and read as much as I could get my hands on, so when I saw that this novel was going to be published in the US I jumped on it! I devoured this book while trying my best to savor every sentence. When I read the last page, I was sad to see the book end but also so pleased that I had finally found a book worthy of a five star rating. If I have one thing to say to you, it i [...]

This is a quality book.The Heart Specialist is a compelling novel based on the real-life story of Dr. Maude Abbott, Montreal's first female doctor. Like the character in the novel, Abbott walked away in frustration from a McGill Medical School rejection. Like the character in the novel, because of the societal constraints of her time, Abbott travelled a long detour to success in the medical field.The novel begins with Agnes White dissecting a squirrel in the barn behind her home. She is no ordin [...]

Agnes' story of triumph and resilience on her quest to become a doctor in an exclusionary, male-dominated environment during the 19th century was truly inspirational. As a current student of McGill University, Rothman's decriptions of the place felt familiar yet heartwrenching. To think Maude Abbott, the real life inspiration behind Agnes White, had set foot on these grounds and that she'd fought to join the medical school, to think that now so many young women were doing what she could not, stu [...]

Inspired by the life of one of Montreal’s first female doctors, Dr. Maude Abbott, this Canadian bestseller is a marvelously crafted piece of historical fiction. Richly detailed, Rothman takes you into the life of Agnes White, a young girl who doesn’t fit the norm of the 1800’s. She and her sister are orphans and are being raised by their grandmother to become proper ladies with the goal of marriage; but Agnes isn’t interested. She would rather look through microscopes and dissect dead an [...]

Agnes White's father was a renowned physician in 1870s Montreal, but when he is embroiled in scandal he leaves her and her pregnant mother and disappears. When her mother dies Agnes is left to be raised by her Grandmother who had very strict ideas about appropriate behaviour for a young lady. Agnes though was fasinated by her father's work and, having salvaged some of his equipment, furtively sets up a laboratory that would horrify her grandmother and sister. When a new governess with an interes [...]

The book was well-written and compelling, especially the first 2/3 of the story. The description by the publisher inferred a family scandal, that the main character's father was suspected of murder and had fled and left the family. Mainly, the book is devoted to Agnes White's quest in the 1890s to becoming a doctor, following in the footsteps of her disgraced and absent father, who had taught at McGill University in Montreal, the same university that refused her entrance to the medical school ba [...]

I was slightly disappointed in this book, as it wasn't what I was expecting. I was hoping to have an excellent, strong woman and story about her struggle against the traditional male roles. And while the story did show her struggles, I found Agnes to be weak, and the story became boring and dragged on.One big issue I have was Agnes. I didn't like her. She wasn't inspiring, she was just a character in the book, who faced many hardships to get her goals. And even then, she doesn't actually reach h [...]

I had a hard time rating this book--couldn't decide between 3 stars, or 4. I was hooked at the beginning, liked it all through the middle, with one exception, but I found myself disappointed with the ending. I appreciated the struggle that the heroine endured, trying and trying to be trained and then practice as a female doctor. I was disappointed that she so easily gave up her fight to practice, settling instead for a lower position, but the book is based on the life of a true person, so perhap [...]

This book I just happened to pick up from the library shelf and it turned out to be quite good. Overall, the book follows a young woman raised by her grandmother after her father was accused of murdering his sister. She decides to follow in her father's footsteps by becoming a doctor at the turn of the century. Though she is denied admittance from a number of colleges, eventually she is given a break and allowed to become a doctor. Though she continues to face discrimination in her pursuits her [...]

The Heart Specialist doesn't tell a story, it shows a story. The plot and feelings of the characters are not revealed through words of exposition but instead by actions that serve as evidence to describe the unfolding tale. There are several components to the story itself, but none vie for dramatic attention. The premise of The Heart Specialist is only to document the life of Agnes White, and all the related segments of this person interlock to form a single, remarkable career of life. Because a [...]


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    Posted by:Claire Holden Rothman
    Published :2018-09-01T23:33:38+00:00