Sunday, January 24, 2021

Review: Wild Swan: A Story of Florence Nightingale by Patti Callahan (audio)

Title: Wild Swan: A Story of Florence Nightingale
Author: Patti Callahan
Narrator: Cynthia Erivo
Published: December 2020, Audible Originals
Length: 1 hour 54 minutes
Source: Personal copy


In this captivating historical novella narrated by Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo, New York Times best-selling author Patti Callahan Henry celebrates the life of the mother of modern nursing and one of history's greatest heroines: Florence Nightingale.

Wild Swan introduces listeners to the Lady with the Lamp long before she became a legend. In this poignant story, a young woman has just discovered her divine purpose to become a nurse, and struggles to make that dream a reality. While traveling abroad with her close friend, Selina Bracebridge - another strong woman living an unconventional life - a rare opportunity arises for Florence to practice medicine. Intellectually gifted with an advanced education thanks to her father’s progressive political views, can the daughter of a prominent English family defy Victorian societal expectations to fulfill her destiny?

Over the course of a few short years, Florence remains brave and determined in the face of all obstacles, pursuing her passion against her family’s wishes. From her parent’s luxurious countryside estate in England to her travels abroad to the German medical institute where she first began her training and fell in love with her work, we follow Florence during these pivotal early years of her extraordinary life.


My thoughts:  I am loving these Audible Original Stories that I have found. While they all tend to be quite short, some novellas or even prequels to novels I have read, some, such as this one, tend to be more focused on giving a snapshot of someone's life. I honestly did not know much about Florence Nightingale before listening to this story and now I am left wanting to know more about her life - isn't that the best feeling? When you read something and it leaves you with a thirst for more knowledge?

I loved getting to see this snapshot into Florence Nightingale's life - how she came to become a nurse and the issues her family initially had with this decision. I loved how Patti Callahan brings to light that fact that it was not custom for women to want to do anything but marry and the fact that Florence wanted to write and become a nurse was basically unheard of, yet she stood her ground. 

This short story really is quite informative and I love that it came out around Florence Nightingale's 200th birthday. It also serves to remind us just how important our nurses have been during this pandemic.

Audio thoughts: This was a great audio and the narrator, Cynthia Ervio did such a fantastic job bringing the story to life. Her pacing and intonation were spot on and she really made this story quite enjoyable to listen to. I hope to see her name on some other audiobooks soon!



1 comment

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