Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nightingales by Gillian Gill

This very well researched and documented biography of Florence Nightingale gives the reader an intimate look into the family, the culture, and the times that shaped the life and character of Florence Nightingale.  The author pulls extensively from the voluminous correspondence to and from Miss Nightingale to give a fuller, richer portrait of the "Lady with the Lamp."  The severe restrictions on Victorian women, the entail of the family estate, and a call from God to serve came to shape the brilliant mind and life of Florence Nightingale. 
It is an excellent book for anyone wishing to understand more deeply the influences on Miss Nightingale.  I have only two criticisms and these are perhaps more indicative of my own preferences. First, the author goes into excruciating detail about the extended family and not only the extended family but extensions of the extended family. This was very hard to follow for one not already well versed in the Nightingale family and served no useful purpose.  Second, the author presents long sections of letters and I found the intricate Victorian prose again very hard to follow. 
However, I don't want to take away from the fact that if you are looking for a solid biography of Florence Nightingale, you could do no better than this volume. 


Rambling Woods said...

I love biographies....

Florence said...

I do too, Michelle. This wasn't an easy read but was very informative especially about how constrained the lives of Victorian women were.