A “gorgeous, thoughtful, heartbreaking” historical novel, The Cape Doctor is the story of one man’s journey from penniless Irish girl to one of most celebrated and accomplished figures of his time (Lauren Fox, New York Times bestselling author of Send for Me).
Beginning in Cork, Ireland, the novel recounts Perry’s journey from daughter to son in order to enter medical school and provide for family, but Perry soon embraced the new-found freedom of living life as a man. From brilliant medical student in Edinburgh and London to eligible bachelor and quick-tempered physician in Cape Town, Dr. Perry thrived. When he befriended the aristocratic Cape Governor, the doctor rose to the pinnacle of society, before the two were publicly accused of a homosexual affair that scandalized the colonies and nearly cost them their lives.
E. J. Levy’s enthralling novel, inspired by the life of Dr. James Miranda Barry, brings this captivating character vividly alive.
— Kirkus Review
“Wise, emotionally resonant . . . fearless”
“Historical fiction at its best”
— Denver Post
“Remarkable . . . Absolutely superb . . . beautifully written . . . In sum, an unforgettable work of art that deserves raves. Bravo!”
“. . . elegant and provocative . . . with fascinating details about medicine and social mores of the time. This beautifully written work will spark much debate.”
— Publishers Weekly
“The Cape Doctor, born at the intersection of history and imagination, powerfully examines the fluidity and complexity of gender . . . [and] offers a profound meditation on identity, loneliness, and love. The Cape Doctor provides everything I come to a novel hoping for—graceful prose, first-rate storytelling, and an irresistible protagonist observed with deep compassion. I admired and adored this book.”
— Lori Ostlund, author of After the Parade
“The Cape Doctor is a rare achievement: equal parts brains and heart, a page-turner and a deeply moving exploration of precisely what it means to be human. E. J. Levy breaks open what we think we know about gender, identity, and love and shines a light on the devastating limits of each. I can’t stop thinking about this gorgeous, thoughtful, heartbreaking book.”
― Lauren Fox, New York Times bestselling author of Send for Me
“The Cape Doctor does what the best novels do. It invites us to put aside our own lives for a time in order to live someone else’s. And it repays the moral imagination that requires with something like wisdom.”
― Richard Russo
“A remarkable reimagining of a remarkable life. The narrator of The Cape Doctor—courageous, lonely, vivid—lingers in the mind like a departed friend.”
— Elizabeth Kostova
“The Cape Doctor is one of those rare wonders of historical fiction: a novel that is so utterly transporting, so fully steeped in its time and place I kept looking up from the page and wondering where I was. And how did E.J. Levy do it? Was she there? The story of its hero Dr. Perry, an Irish woman practicing medicine under cover as a man in nineteenth-century South Africa, raises powerful contemporary questions about the nature of border crossings—of gender, of class, and ultimately of love.”
— Sarah Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Postmistress