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In the Shadow of the Lamp

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It's 1854 and sixteen-year-old Molly would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house. So when she hears of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance. The work is grueling, the hospital conditions deplorable, and Miss Nightingale a demanding teacher. Before long, the plight of British soldiers becomes more than just a mission of mercy as Molly finds that she's falling in love with both a dashing young doctor and a soldier who has joined the army to be near her. But with the battle raging ever nearer, can Molly keep the two men she cares for from harm? A love story to savor, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes imagining of the woman who became known as "the lady with the lamp."

293 pages, Hardcover

First published April 7, 2011

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About the author

Susanne Dunlap

23 books408 followers
Susanne Dunlap is the author of more than ten works of historical fiction. A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn, Northampton, MA, and now Biddeford, ME. She has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, two grandsons, a stepson and a stepdaughter, five step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that's a total of four children and eleven grandchildren!

Susanne is also an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach in fiction and nonfiction, specializing in coaching historical fiction and historical nonfiction.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 202 reviews
Profile Image for Flannery.
326 reviews
June 12, 2011
I am embarrassingly under-informed about the Crimean War . Basically, all I knew about it before reading this book that it was the scene of Florence Nightingale’s nursing innovations and that the Charge of the Light Brigade happened during the conflict. (oh, and I knew the British and the Russians were fighting but I had no clue who else) During the war, Nightingale pioneered many modern nursing practices after seeing the awful living conditions to which wounded and sick soldiers were subjected. In the Shadow of the Lamp follows a young girl from a life in service to Turkey as a part of Nightingale’s nursing corps. I don’t often comment on the actual titles of books but this one is absolutely perfect. We read about famous figures in our history textbooks, but wherever those people were, there were loads of people we never hear anything about. Nightingale was known as “The Lady of the Lamp” because she would walk through the wards checking on patients during the night hours with an oil lamp. There were thousands of people in and out of those wards, patients, nurses, doctors, nuns, and this could be one of their stories.

The opening scene sees Molly Fraser, a 17 year old London girl, fired from her job as a parlormaid after a fellow employee fabricates a story of Molly thieving from their employers. With limited options, Molly decides to attempt to join Nightingale’s nurses on their voyage to the Crimea. Her only problems? She isn’t a nurse, has near no money, and has no references. It’s no spoiler that she finagles her way there.

My enjoyment of the book was hindered by the characterization of Molly. If this were an adult novel, I would be calling her a tease and naïve and her choices frustrating. However, this isn’t written for adults, relationships and courtship were quite different in the 19th century, and the protagonist is only 17. She was, however, consistent in her oft-ridiculous decisions. For example, say you were a young woman with no nursing training and Florence Nightingale told you point blank that if you fraternized with anyone, you’d be sent back to England. What would you do? Yeah, me too. She is, however, a loyal friend, a caring nurse, and a hard worker, all of which I appreciated. Molly doesn’t want to be a tease or to make these decisions, either. Just writing this paragraph has brought me to terms with her. She carries the story well and I wanted to see where Dunlap would take Molly all the way to the end.

I must admit that I was far more interested in the history and nursing aspects of the novel rather than the romance. For the first hundred or so pages, I plowed through Molly’s travel experience and smiled with enthusiasm as Nightingale and her nurses cleaned the vermin-filled, rotten, sewage-smelling, unhygienic wards until they were livable. Then again, I am a huge sucker for cleaning-up montages and before and after pictures. (even if they are only mental images) The second half of the novel concentrates more on the love triangle aspect of Molly's journey--if YA love triangles are driving you up the wall, you'd best give this a pass. I was rather apathetic about which person Molly ended up with or whose advances she accepted but the unique setting and Dunlap's writing kept me invested in the story.

The story never feels too weighed down and the pacing is consistent throughout. The author's descriptions of all the gory details of battle injuries, missing limbs, and the overall grossness of the situation in terms of sanitation were strong without feeling overdone. Historical fiction is not usually my bag but I would/will definitely read other books by this author. I dig her style, I only wish I enjoyed the characters a bit more than I did.

3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
35 reviews32 followers
February 16, 2011
Sixteen year old Molly Fraser doesn't know what to do when she is sacked from her job as parlour maid in when she is accused of committing a crime she did not do because London in 1864 isn't kind to young girls without work. Ready to do anything to keep from working in the awful conditions of a factory, she grabs the opportunity of going to the Crimea as a nurse with Florence Nightingale when nurses are being recruited. The only problem is, she is dismissed for being too young and inexperienced so Molly must use her wits to sneak onto the ship without being noticed and try to prove her worth.

Molly is a high spirited and determined heroine with a very kind heart and I really admired and loved her character for this. She also had flaws and I felt her thoughts and actions were very genuine, which made her realistic. Dunlap portrayed her feelings well through the distinctive voice of her character and I felt like I was growing closer to her over the course of the book. She is the kind of girl I would love to have as a best friend. Her story was very original and I liked how there was a romance integrated into it too. Whilst I know that many people are finding love-triangles in YA very cliche and overused now, this one was a little different and very realistic because it was easy to see what a difficult position Molly was in as her heart was pulled between two men. It is very plausible to find yourself in this position if the two men are in different countries and the rule of nurses not being able to fraternise with doctors made it all the more exciting for her. At seventeen, she has never experienced love before and her confused feelings were very believable and I liked the way she felt guilty about not making a descision because she didn't want to hurt anyone. Each of the two men were extremely likable in their own way. Will, her friend from back home was very kind,caring, earnest and very much honestly in love because he had sacrificed and risked so much for her in her time of need and Mr McLean the doctor was very handsome, merry and always able to make Molly laugh in a way that makes her heart beat faster. I was happy with who she ended up with in the end though.

Dunlap's descriptive and atmospheric writing set the scene for the war very well and whilst I was reading about Molly's time in the hospital, it felt like I was living there too. Everything is described just as it would have been, from the terrible injuries of the men to the appalling unsanitary conditions without being too gory. The setting of the Crimean war is one that I haven't come across yet in YA historical fiction and was a refreshing change from books in the genre that are set in Tudor and Victorian England or Colonial America. Although not a lot of the details are known, I thought that Dunlap weaved fact with fiction seamlessly to provide scenarios and events that are easy to imagine actually happening at the time whilst keeping to real dates and actual people. I really liked how the story worked around Florence Nightingale as the famous nurse that everyone knows about became more real in my mind rather than just lines in a textbook through seeing her through the eyes of one of her young nurses. Her character was serious but very strong willed and she was a young lady who knew her own mind very well and seemed to be a born leader.

Verdict: I was swept away with adventure, sorrow, romance and fear on Molly's journey and I absolutely loved it. I couldn't put this book down as it was so compellingly addictive and I took it to school with me as I wanted to read it at every spare moment I had. It is one of my favourite YA historicals I've read (and it's my favourite genre!)I'm now really looking forward to reading my copy of Anastasia's Secret and getting immersed in whatever Susanne Dunlap writes next.I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance without hesitation and especially those who are taking part in the YA historical fiction challenge- pre-order it!
Profile Image for Anne Osterlund.
Author 5 books5,523 followers
July 10, 2012
Molly has a gift for healing.

But not for reading people. When she loses her job as a maid in an upper-class London home—due to the deception of another servant she thought was a friend—life suddenly has very few prospects.

Florence Nightingale’s call for nurses to serve in the Crimean War seems like fate. And Molly knows this is her calling. If only she wasn’t too young. And from the wrong side of London. And lacking a ticket to get on the boat.

All minor issues, really, if you’re willing to become a stowaway in order to gain a place. The more difficult challenge may be figuring out who to trust—and love—once she succeeds.

In the Shadow of the Lamp is my second Susanne Dunlap read and quite as enjoyable as my first. I had just as much difficulty as Molly trying to sort out which characters I liked best. And I loved the combination of history and drama.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
584 reviews147 followers
January 12, 2011
When sixteen-year-old Molly Fraser loses her job as a maid in 1854 London due to being falsely accused of stealing from her employers, she doesn't know what to do. She will not be able to find another job as a maid without a reference, and she is desperate to avoid working in a factory. Then she learns that Florence Nightingale in looking for nurses to care for the soldiers injured fighting in the Crimean War. When she is rejected due to her lack of experience as a nurse, Molly decides that she will not give up, and decides to sneak onto the ship in hopes she will be given a chance instead of being sent back home.

Molly is not quite prepared for the reality of war when they arrive in Turkey. She is saddened and horrified by the conditions there and the terrible injuries of the soldiers, but she soon finds she has a natural talent for nursing. She also finds her heart torn between two men - the handsome and exciting Dr. Maclean, a young doctor at the hospital, and kind, dependable Will, who worked with Molly in London, helped her when she lost her job, and who has joined the army to be near her. Molly is confused by her feelings and must decide which of the two men she loves while caring for the wounded soldiers and hoping and praying that no harm comes to Will.

In the Shadow of the Lamp is a novel sure to be enjoyed by readers who love history and romance. The historical setting is unique and well-written and brings the setting of the Crimean War to life. The main character of Molly was very believable and likeable, I found myself turning the pages eager to find out what would happen to her next. I would highly recommend this book to readers who enjoyed Susanne Dunlap's previous novels or who enjoy young adult historical romance.
Profile Image for Abigail Yow.
146 reviews30 followers
September 9, 2012
Great book until towards the end.

I'm still unconvinced at the plausibility of the romance. It felt as if Will was second choice. Her personal doormat. And hurray for her for realising that she loved him at the most unlikely of events. I'd rather she remained single for the rest of the book. Heck, she did not even understand love to begin with and when she decided to visit Lucy (Will's sister) and mind you, it wasn't because she liked Will...yet; ta-da, there he was by the door with a walking cane in his hand. She became all flustered and realised that she loved Will. After all, he followed her to war and back again. The biggest blow on the head was when she said even if the doctor were alive, things could not have gone well between them because there were just too much that separated them. Uh-hu. Try saying that if he was still alive and you had to choose between Will and the doctor. I found the whole thing shallow and an insult to the doctor's memory and their feelings for each other. Glad to know that she didn't have to find that out through marriage with the doctor. Sheesh.

While I love the gritty detail of medical and war, I just did not buy the romance and the fickle mindedness of the main chick grated my nerves. I would have rated the book much higher if characterization were much better. Two solid stars from me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Margo Tanenbaum.
786 reviews20 followers
March 28, 2011
In the Shadow of the Lamp follows the adventures of 16-year Molly Fraser, as she joins the nurses traveling with Florence Nightingale to the far-off Crimean war. As the novel opens, Molly loses her job as a chambermaid in one of London's aristocratic mansions when she is unjustly accused of stealing. With no letter of reference, there are few respectable options open to her for employment. Although she is too young and inexperienced to gain employment as one of Miss Nightingale's corps of nurses, by her wits she manages to sneak aboard their ship. When she is found out, the very imposing and strict Miss Nightingale is impressed by Molly's determination to redeem herself and decides to give her a chance to be trained on the job. She warns her that at the first sign of familiarity with any man, she'll be sent packing!

But somehow we know romance will be in Molly's future (this is a YA novel, after all). And not only one handsome young man is after her, but two: Will with the kind eyes, the valet who follows Molly by enlisting in the British army; and Dr. Maclean, a Scottish doctor at the hospital who Molly is intensely attracted to. And Molly finds friendship, too, with another young nurse, Emma. Molly begins to earn the respect of the other nurses when she helps take care of all the ones suffering from seasickness during the ocean voyage to Turkey. Soon they land, and she is amazed by the sights, sounds, and smells of Scutari, where they arrive shortly after the famous charge of the Light Brigade has produced hundreds of casualties, soon to arrive by ship. But when the nurses arrive at the hospital, it's Molly's cleaning and mending experience that comes in handy--the place is filthy, filled with giant rats and lice,with overflowing latrines and piles of mending and washing to be done.

Dunlap makes sure to share some of Nightingale's philosophy of nursing, which was not just to do with giving medicine and bandages. As strange as it seems to us now, her message was revolutionary at the time: provide the sick and wounded with fresh air, warmth, and food, so that their bodies would heal. She soon whips the hospital in Scutari into shape, securing supplies such as beds, fresh straw for mattresses, linens, even curtains to shield the patients from each other when the doctors were performing surgeries. We see her through Molly's eyes, visiting the wards at night with her famous lamp, making sure the men were safe.

Can Molly make something of herself as a nurse? Will she be able to handle the hard work, the horrible sights and smells of the hospital, and Miss Nightingale's strict rules of behavior?

Once again Susanne Dunlap has created an incredibly sympathetic character as her protagonist. Young Molly is far from perfect but is the type of young woman you'd want on your side in a difficult situation--like being at a battlefield hospital far from home. This book combines romance, adventure, and history with an appealing plot and characters with teen appeal. A great pick for public or school libraries!

Profile Image for Mara.
661 reviews102 followers
November 6, 2011
I was, at first, uncertain whether or not this would be a good story with the "duel romance" element thrown in for good measure. In my experience, such details are only irksome and end up making the Reader hate everyone, and finally attaching themselves to That Guy because said Reader is fed up with everyone else.

The romance isn't as annoying as I was anticipating, but it wasn't my favorite. For once, however, I actually had nothing against the two men Molly Fraser finds herself mixed up with - Will Parker and Dr. Maclean. They were fine. Will was honest and gentle and clearly cared for Molly deeply, while Dr. Maclean cared for his patients and tried to do his best at his job. And while, for the most part, I liked Molly as a heroine, her indecision between the two got a bit on my nerves. Though both good young men, the infatuation between her and Dr. Maclean seemed rather sudden, while the relationship between her and Will felt right, and there was something just slightly off about Dr. Maclean that had me totally rooting for Will Parker. I saw it so clearly that I wanted to scream at Molly (and quite nearly did, but was reading in a public area and thought that maybe it would scare a few people if I yelled at the book), and towards the end of the book, I started to think her as a bit selfish for pushing aside Will's affections so many times because she liked the "danger" feeling she got around Dr. Maclean rather than the "safe" she felt around her friend.

However, this does not get in the way of the overall good storyline too much, and if I were not inclined to like both Dr. Maclean and Will, as well as Molly, I would say that it didn't belong. But it does because all three really are likable characters, and the Author wraps up the "love struggle" neatly and satisfactorily (managing to make it sad, but happy at the same time) in the end.

The writing is good, though not spectacular (I mean this as a compliment. Few authors' writing styles are spectacular; good is a thing to be proud up in a world where hardly anyone can write anymore). The Author conveys clearly the nitty-gritty of the hospital in the Crimea and the gristliness of the work therein, but without unnecessary details. I was able to munch on a molasses cookie easily enough while reading some of the meatier bits without my stomach flipping. Her historical detail is rich and accurate, though she takes a few acceptable liberties. While I knew quite a bit more about Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War before reading In the Shadow of the Lamp than most people, I find myself far more curious about it now, and intend to do some deeper research.
Profile Image for Corinne Edwards.
1,428 reviews210 followers
January 25, 2016
In 1854, there aren't a lot of respectable opportunities for young girls in London, so when parlormaid Molly hears that a Miss Nightingale is looking for nurses to join her in the Crimea to tend to the soldiers, she will do whatever it takes to join the group.

Of course, Molly isn't actually a nurse, but she is naturally gentle, with a talent for helping the sick and there is so much to learn. Miss Nightingale runs a seriously tight ship and somehow Molly keeps ending up under her disapproving eye. Slowly, of course, Molly gets the hang of life as a war-time nurse and a certain young doctor who catches her eye makes life confusing and exciting, especially since there is a boy at home that's still in her mind.

I really enjoyed this story. I loved seeing Florence Nightingale from this angle, from the point of view of a young girl just starting out in the world who viewed Florence as some kind of nursing goddess. I think that the wartime violence and all that went with it felt accurate and appropriately painful without being overly graphic (or really all that extensive). The love triangle kept the plot going along, it surprised me sometimes, and there is a soft sense of magical realism in the story, in certain scenes, that I found intriguing (others might be a bit distracted by it in this very historical story). My only complaint, and the only reason it gets 4.5 stars instead of five, is that the ending left me with a few too many questions. Don't get me wrong, I loved the ending, actually, but it was harder for me to suspend my disbelief than I would've liked. Still, it is absolutely worth picking up,especially if you're a historical fiction buff like I am.
Profile Image for Brittany.
333 reviews67 followers
April 12, 2014

I was in need of a historical read, and In the Shadow of the Lamp certainly fulfilled those desires and reminded me why I love the genre so much. I'm a big fan of YA historicals based on real-life events and figures and this one focuses on Florence Nightingale, someone I don't know too much about. The book was quick-paced and enjoyable, though I did have a few issues with it which prevented me from really adoring it.

This is my second Susanne Dunlap novel - the first being Anastasia's Secret, which I reviewed and very much enjoyed - so I knew that what I would find in The Shadow of the Lamp would be at least a pleasing read. I wasn't disappointed in that aspect. I absolutely flew through this novel, wanting to continue the journey with Molly and Miss Florence Nightingale way into the early hours of the morning!

Unlike a lot of historical fiction, In the Shadow of the Lamp doesn't take a lot of effort to read each chapter. Before you know it, you're halfway through the book. This is probably one of my favourite aspects of the book and it allowed me to warm up to the story and it's characters all the more.

I was quite enjoying the book until about halfway through - when things started to get a little misguided with the love triangle. I can honestly say that I never felt anything for the first love interest, Will, from the moment he was introduced until the last page he featured on. I felt as if he were just a blank character - someone that enabled to get to Turkey in the first place. Susanne Dunlap didn't forge a connection between him and the reader, nor a very good one between him and Molly. I just didn't care about him or their relationship.

That brings me to the second love interest - Dr McClean. From reading another review, I now realise that we never even learn his first name... I must admit (rather embarrassingly) that I didn't notice this while reading as most of the dialogue is quite formal, but then again it IS told in first person, so shouldn't Molly have been thinking aloud his name, considering she had quite strong feelings for him? As for Dr McClean, I felt he and Molly had more of a connection than she and Will, but nothing to exactly write home about. I am still scratching my head as to how the young doctor fell so hard and fast for Molly despite little interaction.

That being said, the ending of the love triangle certainly rubbed me the wrong way. I felt that the outcome was a neat and simple cop-out - I can't believe that it ended like that. Without giving too much away, I felt that Molly settled for second best and promptly swept her feelings for the man that didn't 'win' under the rug, dismissing them altogether.

Another main issue I had with this book was the supernatural element. Barely hinting at it, it was suddenly thrown at us about 75% through the book and we were expected to believe it had been there all along. I didn't exactly fall for it. I think this book could have been just as strong - if not stronger - without it. A good YA historical can certainly stand on it's own two feet without having to throw some magic into the mix.

There was also a continuity error that I'm still frowning about. Towards the end, Molly lands on her wrist, causing a sickening crack, no doubt breaking the bone. Seconds later she is up and riding a horse and carrying out her nursing duties without a mention of the injury. To me, this just stands out as poor editing and can often throw a reader off a book altogether.

Despite my problems with it, In the Shadow of the Lamp is still a solid read that I enjoyed from cover to cover. It certainly delivers in the way of bringing you an escape, and it taught me more than I knew already about Miss Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War.

Recommended to: If you have any interest in YA historical fiction and any of the events or characters featured in The Shadow of the Lamp, I would recommend giving it a read.
Profile Image for Jan.
27 reviews
May 5, 2011
For many a girl during 19th century England whose family is poor and can barely feed their family, an oppurtunity to enter the service is something they would seize with alacrity. For sixteen-year-old Molly Fraser, its just one step in life. Here we arrive to meet our energetic, lovable, and brilliant heroine- a parlor maid at the Abington-Smythes. Molly, though finding her life dull, is happy enough with her position. She gets decent wages and there's the handsome Will Parker, a footman, who has always been sweet with her. But when Maeve, an unfortunate scullery maid, becomes jealous of Molly, she pursues her envy in the worst of ways- framing Molly for being a theft. Molly is laid off and now has to find a new way to survive in the world. But that seems difficult- seeing no one will ever let her enter the service again.

But when a newspaper headline catches her eye, Molly finds herself trying to apply to become a nurse and join the famous Florence Nightingale on her trip to the Crimea to help heal the soldiers. Despite her lack in nursing skills, Molly is determined and finds herself stowing away on the ship to France where the other nurses are planning on meeting Nightingale. Quickly enough, she finds herself part of the group heeading to Turkey and she is ecstatic. She meets Emma, a fellow nurse, and the two quickly build a friendship. Also, she comes to know the handsome doctor, James Maclean. Despite her growing feelings to him, she knows the cannot get too close else Nightingale will send her back. At first things in Scrutari seem difficult, but soon Molly is excited to be a part of this scene. Things become a little more difficult when Will shows up, having joined the military. Molly's heart is torn between two very special, handsome men. She finds that she is a natural nurse and even aids Doctor Maclean when he has to take out a man's appendix. Nightingale commends Molly for her skill and even asks her to accompany her and a few others as the travel to the front. However, Emma secretly shows up on the ship, even though she was not asked. She tells Molly she is pregnant with a soldier's child and she needs to see him again. At the Front, Molly arranges with Doctor Maclean to have herself and Emma be brought to where the soldier is. However once they arrive things begin to waver into chaos when disaster and tragedy strikes and in the end Molly realizes that she has made the complete transformation from girl to woman.

A heart-melting, beautiful tale which tells the story of one Molly Fraser under the wing of one of history's greatest women- the lady of the lamp. Dunlap really brings together historical details with a enthralling story that will have you gripped from the beginning!
Profile Image for Kristen My Bookish Fairy Tale.
389 reviews27 followers
March 17, 2011
Molly a young parlor maid in 1854 is dismissed from her duties at the house of the Abington-Smythes where she had been working for since she was 15. A young girl with no education and no hopes of working as a parlor maid again, she overhears a news boy yelling out the days headlines about the war and how the lady Florence Nightingale was calling for 100 experienced nurses to travel with her to Turkey to take care of all the soldiers over there.

Molly did not have any knowledge or experience in nursing but went for the interview anyways. Upon learning that she was not qualified to go, Molly takes it upon herself to find a way. Afraid of being disgraced by her parents and needing to send money home to help care for her family, 17 year old Molly sets out on the journey of a lifetime.

The amazing story of the real Florence Nightingale and her amazing tale of how she improved the nursing conditions for the entire world and modern medicine. With a strict thinking process on how things should be done ended up leaving Nightingale with a reputation for her abrasiveness, single-minded to the point of obsession and self-sacrificing practices. Florence Nightingale was the greatest heroine of her time.

Upon meeting Molly, Nightingale decides to give her a chance. A stickler for the rules as Nightingale was she was something in Molly. Molly turned out to be an extraordinary nurse but had a difficult time following Nightingale's rules. One of her most important was no flirting with the men at all. Neither doctors or soldiers.

Molly finds herself struggling with her own heart between Will her friend from back home who has followed her all the way to Turkey and Dr Mclean.

In The Shadow of The Lamp is a wonderful tale of heart, fate, courage and survival. An amazing love story and a great eye opener for the lives of women back in the 1850's. Suzanne has written an emotional masterpiece that will transcend across all age gaps. Gripping story line and a wonderful mix of fact and fiction.
Profile Image for Books and Literature for Teens.
96 reviews63 followers
April 29, 2011
Once again Dunlap entices readers with her dramatic historical settings. This time we travel to the war-torn fields of Turkey with Florence Nightingale, “the lady of the lamp”. Dunlap is one of my favorite historical fiction writers because I think teens who don’t normally read this genre will enjoy her books. Dunlap has a flair for the dramatic so expect an ending that will leave you hanging on the final page.

With the setting by far the strongest part of In the Shadow of the Lamp, Dunlap allows readers to venture into the hospital hallways and sickbeds where wounded soldiers are treated. The details of nursing duties and doctors are greatly outlined. However, the plot tipped on the weaker side toward the middle of the book. At times it seemed as if some things happened a bit too conveniently and it was definitely the “romantic” interest that moved the story along. While the characters are fairly well-developed, I felt like I didn’t quite understand Molly all the time, as if some of her thoughts and intentions were not quite clear.
With that being said, In the Shadow of the Lamp is still a nice novel especially if you are a fan of Dunlap’s. Compared to her first books, The Musician’s Daughter is still my favorite. The ending of In the Shadow of the Lamp is by far the best part of the whole book–loved it! Despite having some weakness in plot, Dunlap did create a vivid scene of a past history and executed it with adventure and a touching message. Can’t wait for her next book.

Recommendation: Highly recommend especially if you’ve enjoyed The Musician’s Daughter and Anastasia’s Secret. Great historical fiction novel for teens and has a good chance of holding interest for those who don’t normally read h.f. Ages 14+

Content: Descriptions of blood/surgery, some sensuality, references to prostitution (PG)

See the rest of the review here at booksandliteratureforteens.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,752 reviews102 followers
June 27, 2011
In the Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap
Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers, 2011
293 pages
YA; Historical
3.5/5 stars

Source: Library

Light spoilers!

I didn't know much about the plot and the period of this book when I picked it up; quite frankly I wasn't even sure were Crimea was until I just googled it now. But an inside look at Florence Nightingale and her nurses during the Crimean War sounded super promising.

And just like I thought, the historical setting and details were fantastic and fascinating! I loved reading about the high hygienic standards established by Florence Nightingale, how much of their initial nursing was gruntwork just to set up the hospital, and the personality of main character Molly. Although she's pretty innocent in the ways of the world, she's a hard-worker, practical, and eager to learn. Nightingale is also an interesting character with more depth than I had known about previously, as she struggles and overcomes challenges.

But then there was the romance, which had some odd elements. First Molly is somewhat drawn to Will, who supported her in her first position and then followed her to the war zone. But in the meantime, she has become interested in a doctor with whom she shares a mysterious connection. One of them ends up dying and she ends up marrying the survivor but their romance doesn't quite work because it seems like she may have actually loved the dead man more.

There is also a mystical aspect as Molly's intuition about nursing takes over and gives her knowledge that she couldn't possibly have known. It was bizarre and occurred in three main places. I thought this was a straightforward historical and couldn't understand the insertion of these instances.

Overall: A rich historical novel about the Crimean War.

Cover: I really like the cover-it's accurate and it caught my eye.
Profile Image for Kerrie-ann.
91 reviews22 followers
April 13, 2011
I did notice a few inconsistencies throughout this ARC such as female's changing from Mrs to Miss and Emma's soldier's name changing from Thomas to Robert in one scene. However, all these mistakes will be corrected in the finished version of the book I'm sure.

This book was the perfect mix of war and romance. The romance throughout the story contained Molly, Emma and their gentlemen. The premise of the story is about a group of nurses being sent to Turkey to help the wounded men from the Crimea War. Molly was the main character throughout the whole story, however Miss Nightingale did play a big role throughout this novel. Will was a good male character because he cares so much about Molly, whereas Dr Maclean helps Molly become a much better nurse in the warzone.

As this story progressed I kept trying to guess what would happen to each of the characters, but with some it was really hard to guess what was going to happen. This was good because it made me want to keep reading the novel just to find out what happens next. The ending was quite sad and makes you want to cry. However, the end of the novel is also really happy, so the ending is a mix of sadness and happiness. If you want to find out what I'm talking about then you will just have to read this novel to find out.

I really enjoyed the first novel I read by Susanne Dunlap which was The Musician's Daughter. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this novel. Susanne is a brilliant author and I love the way she writes because she puts so much description into her work. The scenes in her novels are very detailed, you find out a lot about the characters and there is a mix of war/crime and romance. By rating for this book is 5/5 stars and I would recommend this book to everyone. I really enjoyed it and I think you will aswell so everyone needs to go out and buy their own copy.
Profile Image for Briana.
219 reviews233 followers
February 16, 2011
Below is an excerpt form my review. To read my full, in-depth review go to my blog here: http://thebookpixie.blogspot.com/2011...

"Beautiful and sometimes brutal, heart-warming and often heart-breaking, In the Shadow of the Lamp is a vividly painted work of historical fiction, deeply infused with raw emotion..........................................................

In the Shadow of the Lamp is a rich, engrossing, and poignant addition to the historical-fiction genre and easily my favorite of all the ones I've read thus far. Everything was so brilliantly executed and seamlessly pulled together. I find I am now left with a new found appreciation and admiration for Florence Nightingale, the woman famously known as 'the lady with the lamp'. If you are a fan of historical fiction, do not hesitate to pre-order this marvelous story as I very highly recommend it. This is one I can see myself reading time and time again and I can't wait to delve into more of Susanne Dunlap's stories."

Profile Image for KWinks  .
1,193 reviews15 followers
April 29, 2011
Excellent! I have never read about this subject before. I loved the way Dunlap portrayed Nightingale. I was so in the mood for a good historical story. I could have done without the romance *rolls eyes* but overall fantastic. I loved the other touches such as the healing "with hands", the healer on the battlefield, and the reality of the wards.
Profile Image for Loren Johnson.
214 reviews22 followers
October 12, 2017
This was more of a 3.5 star read but it was leaning more towards 4 than 3. I really liked this book. It was a nice and easy read that was filled with lots of interesting information about Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War - something I'm very interested in. I love that Mary Seacole was also included in there - albeit only for a moment or two. There were sections that were a bit lacking and some of the important parts weren't stretched out as long as some parts I thought could afford to be a bit shorter. But, altogether, this was an enjoyable book. I'd definitely recommend it as a breezy, non-complicated read. It was a pleasure for me to immerse myself in the story, and I would love to give Susanne Dunlap's other books a read at some point. I enjoyed her writing style very much and I think this is a story to be proud of. I'm glad I read it.
Profile Image for Lucy Gould.
Author 2 books28 followers
June 7, 2022
This book was so captivating, I literally couldn’t put it down!
Profile Image for Holly.
1,791 reviews125 followers
August 9, 2014
It was totally time for a historical fiction and what a good one it was. Susanne Dunlap always writes interesting historical fictions that make me feel like I'm actually part of the story. At one point in this one, I got seriously misty-eyed.

Molly was a parlormaid, fired for "stealing" (her jealous roommate stole silver and put it under Molly's bed to get her fired). Looking for another opportunity to make money for her family in poverty, Molly happens to overhear that Florence Nightingale is looking for nurses with experience to go help the soldiers in the Crimean War. Molly has no experience, but that's not going to stop her. But she's getting more than she bargained for when she realizes she falling in love with not one but two men she shouldn't.

I loved watching Molly fall for these two men. Each had their good points and their bad points. Of course, I had my personal favorite, but I'm not sharing that. Don't take it personally, I just don't want to give anything away.

Molly was just so cool. She was insanely strong-willed with killer instincts. (And by "killer", I don't mean that she killed people...you know that, right?) Also, it was very cool to see Florence Nightingale as a character. I didn't know much about her beyond her name and that she was involved in nursing, but this was hugely enlightening.
Profile Image for Sarah.
10 reviews1 follower
July 11, 2011
Normally, I LOVE Susanne Dunlap's historical fiction books to the point where I read it all in one sitting. While this one started off good, I felt like it fell short half-way through. It seemed rushed and not really complete. I'm not sure what happened here, but I greatly missed the wonderful writing I read in Anastasia's Secret. Molly was a great main character at the beginning but then she became kind of tedious with the whole 'I don't know what to do' act taking place constantly the second half of the book. Also, the loved triangle seemed kind of forced. I do not really understand why Molly thought she was in love with a certain someone because it did not seem like much to me but whatever. I'm not the author. I hope Susanne's next book comes back in her usual spectacular storytelling form.
Profile Image for Amy Barker.
10 reviews2 followers
April 25, 2015
Molly Fraser wants to become more than just a maidservant. She hears of an opportunity to join Florence Nightingale's corps of nurses, but she is too young. Molly sneaks aboard, forces her way into being accepted and trained, eager to do something spectacular. She is forced to endure hard work and horrible working conditions. However, proves to have a drive for excellence and making a difference.
We see a coming of age and self-discovery take place, as she decides between the love of two men. She has won the affections of the doctor, and also those of a lowly soldier who sacrificed it all to be close to her.
This book is a very good historical fiction novel for someone interested in the behind stories of war. Love, growth, discovery and finding inner strength are all themes prevalent in this great book.
I highly recommend it to any young adult reader.
Profile Image for Adele Broadbent.
Author 9 books30 followers
August 24, 2014
In 1854, there aren't a lot of respectable opportunities for young girls in London, so when 17 yr old parlor maid Molly loses her job she can’t face her family. She soon learns a Miss Nightingale is looking for nurses to join her in the Crimea to tend to the soldiers, and Molly decides to go. Molly has always had a gift – healing hands, and knows that nursing is for her, even if she is too young for Miss Nightingale’s contingent.

Miss Nightingale is very strict – no drinking, flirting or even looking at a patient the wrong way. Molly slowly gets used to the life as a war-time nurse but a certain young doctor who catches her eye makes life confusing – but exciting. But what of Will, the boy at home who lent her money and is always on her mind?
Profile Image for Taylor.
69 reviews2 followers
January 13, 2019
I was going to bump this to a 3, but the random magic and inconsistencies brought this down for me. I learned a little about the Crimean War, but this was just a giant "I don't know anything, but I think I'm in love with two different guys?" trope for me. Also, I didn't care for the main character or Emma. Emma seemed way too manipulative (as did the main). I feel like all of this was too rushed and could have been better if it was thought out more.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Elaine.
122 reviews7 followers
June 2, 2015
This was such an amazing novel! I loved it so much!
Profile Image for camille.
82 reviews
November 15, 2018
i purposefully sought out this book because i had read something else by the same author, but here's the thing: in terms of historical fiction, the other book i read was generally enjoyable but at parts kind of unfortunate, except since it was overall decent and it's hard to find that, i thought i would read other books by this author. and at first this book was really good i thought, and i enjoyed it a lot, but then in about the last quarter it started getting weird and unfortunate again like the last book did, and for some reason i felt betrayed by this? because i had enjoyed the first main parts of the book? and then i had to sit there and remember. that i intentionally looked for a book by the same author as the other book that did this to me, and i was left with my final thoughts about this book, which are What did i honestly expect. but i also feel bad just writing "what did i honestly expect" as a review because i did like it, overall! it's pretty good! pretty solid! i just don't know why this author's books seem to kind of narratively dissolve near the end every time though. but it was good and if you like medicine in history (even though this didn't have a heavy medical focus, it was mostly in the setting of a field hospital) and your taste in books doesn't run towards wanting some larger meaning from them (mine doesn't, i just want something entertaining usually) then i would recommend. if anyone happens to know about any similar books (field hospital during a war or similar setting but not overly concerned with the war itself and it's like, the life of a nurse or doctor or something and just their interpersonal relationships and whatnot, please let me know lol. the war part is optional because usually i don't like war novels anyway just like a historical medical setting)
Profile Image for Kate.
432 reviews
February 16, 2019
4/5 stars

I picked this up on a bit of a whim. I fell in love with Molly's character immediately. She's so sweet and innocent. I flew through the first 2/3rds of the book, but the final third slowed and dragged a bit, so I put it down for a couple weeks. I finally finished it last night, and I enjoyed it for the most part.

I loved Molly's resourcefulness and clever nature, and how despite her lack of training, she learned very quickly and deeply connected with her tasks. I loved her relationship with Will. They're so cute together.

I was kinda frustrated with Miss Nightingale's shock and disgust about the younger girls and their relationships with other men, like, what did she think was going to happen when Emma and Molly were surrounded by doctors and soldiers?!

Also, I really did not like Dr. Maclean. He didn't seem to care for Molly very much, and it seemed like he used her. She always got the blame when Miss Nightingale caught them together, even though it was his fault! Also, Molly said in the last chapter that Dr. Maclean showed her what true love was, which I don't agree with at all. She didn't really know him, and it seemed like he was using her! The only constant model of love was Will. But that's my opinion.

Overall, it was a wonderful story, and it was very enjoyable!
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