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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling 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 newfound 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.

©2021 E. J. Levy (P)2021 Little, Brown & Company

Critic Reviews

"Levy has done an absolutely superb job of novelizing Barry’s life while her realization of him as a character is flawless. He is brilliant, impetuous, unafraid (perhaps foolishly) of making enemies in a good cause, an ardent supporter of women’s rights and an equally ardent enemy of slavery.... And the book is beautifully written." (Booklist, starred review)

"An elegant and provocative spin on the life of trans icon James Miranda Barry.... Perry’s narration brims with fascinating details about medicine and social mores of the time. This beautifully written work will spark much debate."(Publishers Weekly)

“E.J. Levy’s compelling novel The Cape Doctor, born at the intersection of history and imagination, powerfully examines the fluidity and complexity of gender. Levy 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)

What listeners say about The Cape Doctor

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Absolutely adored this story - beautifully written

Audible Review- WOW, this book will be going to the top of my best books read list. I absolutely adored this story. The writing is beautiful, poetic, descriptive and most importantly, lovely, just plain lovely. I will be re-reading this story just because I want to, not because I missed anything. I can’t count the times I would backup my listening just to repeat what had been said. I was swept into this book, rarely does a story envelope me so much.
The main love story is so touching, I only wish I had felt that type of deep love in my life. The thought processes of James about death and how the body tells our story will be remembered for the rest of my life. 5 stars is not high enough for this one. And the narrator, she made this a masterpiece.
My opinion is, if you read one book this year, make it this one.

31 people found this helpful

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remarkable

A wonderful story of love, loss and triumph. this narrator was on of the best I've listened to

16 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Narrator’s accents are wonderful! Reveals the drama that Dr. Perry must have experienced. Vivid writing

13 people found this helpful

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Entertaining, educational, & de ja vu for Capetown

At first, I found the book a little interesting but not grabbing, until the story moved to the Cape, and the story became more complex. The challenges that Dr. Perry had to overcome were daunting. She had a strong character and she was able to voice her beliefs that she could not have done as a man. There are real women of yore who also assumed a man's likeness, so this book gave a good idea of what they endured.

Having spent some time in Capetown, reading a little of what it was like in the 1800s was a particular enjoyment.

11 people found this helpful

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Historical Read

I loved Infamous by E. J. Levy. ,, Story is good! put on TBR.

5 people found this helpful

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Too precious a narrative.

Narration: the clipped speech, which often dips in garbled mumble, is unpleasant, as is the exaggerated inflection presumably affected by self-inportant persons of late 19th century England.

Story: familiar trope of woman resorting to impersonating a man so she can strive to succeed, admirably so, in a man’s world.

The story is formulaic, the narration itself too precious, too exaggerated, and over the top for me.

Not recommended.

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Beautifully written and narrated

This book was fascinating and the writing beautiful. Most of all, the narration was one of the best I’ve ever heard. I have over 900 titles in my library and I have to say Mary Jane Wells is a master. Her performance was perfection.

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Engaging historical fiction

The Cape Doctor is engaging; the story well told, and historical references give a peek into colonial South Africa. I enjoyed seeing how a woman forged her way in the very masculine world of the early 1800s. The narration was excellent and I feel it gave depth to the emotions of the characters. I was so intrigued that I had to find out if this book was based on a true story - and it is! I don’t know if the relationship that is central to the story (don’t want to give any spoilers) developed in real life, but after you listen, check into Dr James Barry on warhistoryonline.com to discover the parallels.

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Eh

OK, I'm a guy & I'll be dismissed for 'not getting it.'

In any event, the narrator was awful. Her clipped, condescending, overly confident tone bordered on being dictatorial.

I couldn't sympathize with the main character. She just came across as paint-by-numbers. She had all the politically correct attitudes & just came across as insufferable & smug. I was trying to be sympathetic to the limited options women had at that time & her succeding in spite of obstacles, but in the end, the only emotional response this elicited from me was annoyance.

I am going to South Africa & had hoped to learn a little something, and in that it failed.

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Fantastic! Other reviews didn’t lie!

I was persuaded to try this audiobook because of the glowing reviews and it did not disappoint. What an interesting speculation on the life of a real historical figure! But even if Jonathan Perry had not been real, the story would still have been totally captivating. It made me again be thankful that I was born into an age and nation where women have equal rights to education and careers, so that we needn’t endure the sacrifices and difficulties of Dr. Perry in the pursuit of a career.