Flight of the Wild Swan
A majestic novel of Florence Nightingale, whose courage, self-confidence, and resilience transformed nursing and the role of women in medicine
Sweeping yet intimate, Flight of the Wild Swan tells the story of Florence Nightingale, a brilliant, trailblazing woman whose humanity has been obscured beneath the iconic weight of legend. From adolescence, Nightingale was determined to fulfill her life’s calling to serve the sick and suffering. Overcoming Victorian hierarchies, familial expectations, patriarchal resistance, and her own illness, she used her hard-won acclaim as a battlefield nurse to bring the profession out of its shadowy, disreputable status and elevate nursing to a skilled practice and compassionate art.
In lush, lyrical detail, Melissa Pritchard reveals Nightingale as a rebel who wouldn’t relent–one whose extraordinary life offers a grand lesson in inspired will.
PRAISE & REVIEWS
“Flight of the Wild Swan is the best of Melissa Pritchard. It combines her exquisite ear for tone and detail in story, her gift of mystic perception, and her sense of the historic layering of human lives and the events that make our lives absolutely distinct. In this novel, you will come to know Florence Nightingale close up, not as a faraway, distant figure.” –Joy Harjo, author of Poet Warrior: A Memoir and Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light
“Flight of the Wild Swan offers a fascinating immersion in the 19th-century world of drawing rooms and battlefields, crinolines and leeches. Just as vividly, Pritchard’s tour de force evokes nursing and medicine today, when Florence Nightingale’s pioneering contributions are still felt and in which women still struggle for equality. An enchanting, inspiring, and utterly relevant novel.” –Suzanne Koven, MD, author of Letter to a Young Female Physician
“What an amazing book this is. Florence Nightingale–with her insistent spiritual yearning and her work inside the horrors of war–is a large and quite astounding character, evoked by Pritchard in full intellectual depth. The journey this novel takes is mesmerizing and unforgettable.” –Joan Silber, author of Improvement and Secrets of Happiness