Born in London's slums, Samantha Hargrave is determined to become a physician. What stands in her way? The entire medical establishment. Samantha lives in Victorian London, and women are not permitted to enter medical schools.First apprenticing herself to a pharmacist and then to two different physicians, Samantha eventually finds her way into a medical school and receives her certification. She moves from London to New York, and from there to San Francisco -- where she establishes a hospital for women, and takes on the patent medicine industry as the quack treatments kill so many of her patients.Barbara Wood has clearly done a great deal of research into the period, and woven her facts into a fascinating novel. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.