Book review: Doctor of the High Fells by Elizabeth Gill

Doctor of the High Fells by Elizabeth GillDoctor of the High Fells by Elizabeth Gill
Doctor of the High Fells by Elizabeth Gill
Escaping a loveless marriage in 1920s New York is hard enough, but crossing the Atlantic to start a new life on foreign shores is a daunting prospect for a young woman doctor.

And when she joins a back street surgery in a small mining town in County Durham, Dr Prue Stanhope discovers that winning the trust of the locals will be tougher than the long hours and the lack of money.

Welcome to the wild and wonderful fells of north-east England, the atmospheric setting for an enchanting new tale of love, loss and hardship from Elizabeth Gill, an author steeped in the remote countryside where she grew up.

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Gill always puts passion, drama and romance at the heart of her compelling novels and Doctor of the High Fells combines a cast of beautifully drawn characters with the moving story of one woman’s mission to dedicate her life to caring for others.

It’s 1924 in New York City and when Prue Stanhope’s father-in-law dies and she and her husband Silas move into his mother’s home, it sets in motion the end of her cold and loveless marriage.

Determined to continue practising as a doctor despite the scandal of a divorce, Prue packs her bags, takes what little money she has and catches a train to her friend’s home in Boston.

From there, Prue sets sail for England and a new job in Tow Law, a small coal mining town in the fells of County Durham where the pit workers grind out a living in the dangerous low seams hundreds of feet below ground.

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But the townsfolk were not expecting to see a woman doctor in their local surgery and Prue will have to win both hearts and minds if she is to make a success of her new job in a new country.

Through her work at the pits, Prue meets local mine owner Rory Gallagher, a self-made man still grieving after the death of his beloved wife, but the spark that flares between them may never be lit as both he and Prue have sworn to never love anyone again…

Gill, a born storyteller, is on fine form as she transports us back to an age of poverty and hardship leavened by the warmth, humanity and loyalty of a tight-knit community and the family ties and friendships that bind them together.

An enchanting read for all true romantics…

(Quercus, paperback, £6.99)