The Scarlet Ribbon by Derry O’Down Irish Book Recommendation



The Scarlet Ribbon follows James Quinn, a young Irish surgeon battling prejudice, suspicion and personal demons in his controversial quest to change the face of medicine.

Set during the years 1737-1742 in Dublin, Paris, London and Galway, The Scarlet Ribbon follows James Quinn, a young surgeon, on his controversial quest to become a man-midwife and the women who change his life. Following his marriage, tragedy strikes, and James sinks into a life of turmoil, alcohol and despair. Throwing himself into his work, the young surgeon eventually begins to find solace in the most unexpected of places. But the course of his life was never set to run smooth. Battling prejudice, social constraints and suspicion of new medical techniques James’ work takes him from the backstreets of Paris, through the glittering social whirl of London and finally back to Ireland. This is a story of the thorns of love and the harsh reality of life in the eighteenth century, where nothing is simple and complications of all kind surround James Quinn, Man Midwife.

Katy O’Dowd is a journalist and editor (Pendragon Press) and has written for newspapers, magazines and online for over 15 years, including Time Out, Associated Newspapers, Comic Relief and The Times (London). She is a contributor to a fiction anthology for Echelon Press in the USA. Her co-author and father is Michael O’Dowd who is currently Chair of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Ireland.


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