Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The Invincible Miss Cust by Penny Haw


Aleen Cust has big dreams. And no one—not her family, society, or the law—will stop her.

Born in Ireland in 1868 to an aristocratic English family, Aleen knows she is destined to work with animals, even if her family is appalled by the idea of a woman pursuing a veterinary career. Going against their wishes but with the encouragement of the guardian assigned to her upon her father's death, Aleen attends the New Veterinary College in Edinburgh, enrolling as A. I. Custance to spare her family the humiliation they fear. At last, she is on her way to becoming a veterinary surgeon! Little does she know her biggest obstacles lie ahead.

The Invincible Miss Cust is based on the real life of Aleen Isabel Cust, who defied her family and society to become Britain and Ireland's first woman veterinary surgeon. Through Penny Haw's meticulous research, riveting storytelling, and elegant prose, Aleen's story of ambition, determination, family, friendship, and passion comes to life. It is a story that, even today, women will recognize, of battling patriarchy and an unequal society to realize one's dreams and pave the way for other women in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.



About The Author

Penny Haw is the author of The Invincible Miss Cust, a work of historical fiction based on the life of Britain and Ireland's first woman veterinary surgeon; The Wilderness Between Us, winner of the WFWA 2022 Star Award in the general category; and a children’s book called Nicko, The Tale of a Vervet Monkey on an African Farm. Before turning to fiction, she was a journalist and columnist with bylines in many of South Africa's leading newspapers and magazines. She lives near Cape Town.



My Review


We meet Aleen as a child living in Ireland, where she develops her love of animals. I love books that are based on the lives of real people, and the author does a wonderful job of bringing her life alive.
Aleen is a determined and smart young lady when she makes up her mind, and she sure doesn't change it, to become a Veterinary Surgeon, and does she turn heads yes, she is a Lady and they are not to enter into a man's world.
Her life's journey is not an easy one, but this girl does not take "no" for an answer. We are there for her success and giving, and also the curves that life throws her, including her family.
A woman who in the end carves a path for others, and as we walk in her shoes, it is not an easy path, but we are there as she forges ahead.
I really enjoyed this read and will look for more by Penny Haw!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Sourcebooks Landmark, and was not required to give a positive review.

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