Cover Image: The Nurse's Secret

The Nurse's Secret

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Una's life turns around for the better when she is accepted to Bellevue's School of Nursing.  She's been living on the margins- grifting- and she's not really prepared for academia.  She is. however, prepared to deal with the dirty and difficult parts of the job.  She's making a different sort of friend and a different sort of life and then she realizes one of the patients has been murdered.  This turns from a journey of self discovery and empowerment to a mystery- not a bad thing but I didn't need it to find this a rewarding read.  No spoilers from me.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For fans of historical fiction.
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Una Kelly, a thief in 1880s New York, finds herself accused of murder. She manages to be admitted to the Bellevue Training School for Nurses inspired by the good works of Florence Nightingale. Definitely not among her peers, she nonetheless works hard toward redemption and finds herself in a career that is actually good for her. Excellent historical fiction.
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In The Nurse’s Secret we are treated to a multi-layered, fascinating historical fiction novel. The main character is Una—a grifter, a pickpocket, who ekes out a hardscrabble life for herself on the mean streets on New York City. Desperate, wanted for murder, she lies her way through an interview and enters a nurse training program at Bellevue Hospital. Una is street smart, resilient and savvy, and incorporates the skills she used to survive on the streets to get through the rigorous program.  There is also a murder mystery woven into this mesmerizing story, adding danger and intrigue in unexpected ways.
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It took me a few different times of reading to finish this book, I'm not ure why because it really was a good story, something good about the book was missing for me, I couldn't really get into the characters,  It was just a book for me, I'm sorry, I just think it took to long to get to the next wow for me, I received this book from Net Galley, this is my honest review
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author, for an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
The synopsis of this book sounded intriguing to me so I requested a copy to read.
Unfortunately, I have tried reading this book on 2 separate occasions and during this 2nd attempt, I have
decided to stop reading this book 
and state that this book just wasn't for me.
I wish the author, publisher and all those promoting the book much success and connections with the right readers.
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New York City ~ 1880s ~ Bellevue Hospital ~ Grifters ~ Murder ~ Nursing school ~ Friends ~ Mystery ~ Cops ~ Doctors ~ Death ~ Romance ~ Gilded Age ~ Trust ~ Great characters ~ Well-researched ~ Highly recommend

I was gifted this advance copy by NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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"The Nurse's Secret" is a suspense set in 1883 in New York City. Una has learned to look out for her own interests because she's had to take care of herself since she was a child. She's good at looking and acting respectable in order to pick people's pockets, but her habits aren't normally refined anymore. She cusses, drinks, steals. A rare act of kindness on her part ends up with her needing to avoid the police, making some bad decisions, witnessing a murder, and being arrested for that murder. She manages to escape and join a nursing school to hide from the police, but what she thought would be an easy disguise requires a lot more effort (and help from new friends) than she expected. Strangely, she spots more murders at the hospital, though it's not like she can report them to the police. Especially since no one else seems to think they are murders.

Though the murders were pivotal to Una's life, she didn't mystery-style investigate until nearly the end. Much of the story focused on what it was like to be a nurse, doctor, or nursing student at that time. The historical details were woven into the story and brought it alive in my imagination. The characters acted realistically. Una wasn't exactly likable at first, but I understood why she acted the way that she did. As time went on, friends who cared about her brought out her desire to help others even at risk to herself. The story stayed suspenseful as one bad decision after another left Una in danger of being thrown out of the school or spotted by the police. Again, I understood why she acted that way, and it was consistent with her character and past.

There were no sex scenes. There was a lot of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting historical.
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I was attracted to this novel due to the cover and the setting---New York, 1883. I always enjoy medical stories from the 19th and early 20th centuries; they make me appreciate modern medicine. (An aside, for a fabulous historical medical fiction read, pick up a copy of Robin Oliveira’s “My Name is Mary Sutter.”)

Una Kelly is a grifter who is about to become homeless. Her mother died in a fire and her father died of a drug overdose. Una is about to pull a scam and cheat her fence out of deal when the new fence she plans to meet with is found murdered. She does have a run-in with the coppers but manages to elude them. 

On the run and nowhere to go, Una spots an article in the newspaper that Bellevue Hospital is recruiting nurses. Bellevue is a training hospital and is renowned for following Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles. Bellevue is the first hospital to do this in the country.

Una defrauds her way into the training program. It’s not like anything she expected, but she finds she has a knack for it. Following the restrictive role, she must play as a nurse is tough on the young woman who is used to doing things her way. She also finds things she has never had before: friends and romance. When murders begin to happen at the hospital, Una sets out to discover who is the guilty party. 

This novel is a little light in depth and tension, but it was interesting. While I didn’t find it a page-turner, other reader might. “The Nurse’s Secret” receives 3 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.
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From start to finish, "The Nurse's Secret" is an engrossing read. It's not one you should inhale in one day, as you won't truly appreciate it. Read over the course of a few days, you get a deeper connection to the story and it's main character Una Kelly. 
Not only does the book provide you a window into the less glamorous side of the Gilded Age, it also provides a history on the creation of the nurse training program at Bellevue Hospital, as well as an interesting mystery to unravel. No spoilers from me. I'll just say that this was a great book. I look forward to the author's next work. 
Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for this ARC, which I voluntarily read and reviewed.
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This is the first book I have read by this author but definitely not the last! The characters were very life like in my mind and the story was very captivating. I put aside everything else that was needing done because I just had to keep reading “one more chapter “. The historical aspects were well researched.
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The Nurse’s Secret by Amanda Skenandore left me wanting to learn more about the history of Bellevue! I loved this historical fiction book that grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. It was well written with rich details of medicine in the 1880s.

From the opening chapters detailing scrappy Una’s life on the streets,  I was taken in by her story and the circumstances which led her to nursing. Her goal was to hide out from the police by attending classes but she found out that she was actually good at it. Of course, nothing is ever smooth sailing…


Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. Where once nurses were assumed to be ignorant and unskilled, Bellevue prizes discipline, intellect, and moral character, and only young women of good breeding need apply. At first, Una balks at her prim classmates and the doctors’ endless commands. Yet life on the streets has prepared her for the horrors of injury and disease found on the wards, and she slowly gains friendship and self-respect.

Just as she finds her footing, Una’s suspicions about a patient’s death put her at risk of exposure, and will force her to choose between her instinct for self-preservation, and exposing her identity in order to save others.

This will be out on June 28.
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In this book we fellow una Kelly, how she gets mixed UP in a murder she did not commit. Her solution for staving of out prison,  she applies to Bellevue nursing school (with fake Credits i might add) what better Way to stay hidden than to disguise as a nurse right? I Bellevue she finds friendships, love and her real self. But then some more mysterious deaths happen, and una sees it as a way to clear her name. What happens , well you have to read the book to find out. 
A historical fiction with mystery elements. I highly recommend it.
Thank you to for letting me read this e arc in exchange honest opinion
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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ ½
Genre: Historical Fiction

Set in New York in the 1880s is the story of Una Kelly a thief who gets accused of a murder that she has no part in. When things get complicated for her, the only solution is to escape. Una finds the nursing school at Bellevue Hospital an excellent place to remain hidden from the police. There she builds some friendships and finds a romantic interest in Dr. Edwin. Then another murder happens that seems to be connected to the earlier one. Una finds it a chance to clear her name, which also means risking revealing her real identity to the new people she cares about. 

This historical fiction has mystery elements to it towards the second half after Una joins the nursing school. The medical information in the nursing school especially for that era was something interesting to read about. As a story, the concept is simple and could happen in any timeframe even in our modern days. Yes, it is also predictable but still an enjoyable one. For historical fiction, I do need sometimes a story with more punch. At times I felt the plot was lacking the depth I am looking for in historical stories even though the author has done a good job with the characters. The mystery element sometimes felt more fun and at other times was more like a distraction. Overall it was an enjoyable read.  

Many thanks to the publisher Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader copy of this book.
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I love a good historical fiction read and “The Nurse’s Secret” certainly fit the bill!  

Through the sights, sounds, and unfortunate smells: we’re immediately transported to 1880s New York City through the eyes of street-wise pickpocket, Una Kelly.  When she finds herself charged for a murder she didn’t commit, our heroine cons her way into a place at Bellevue Hospital’s nursing school. The mystery and suspense only continue when a few patients die under mysterious circumstances, forcing Una to decide how far her lying can go. 

I’ve never read any of Amanda Skenandore’s other works, but I’m certain I will now. Her style is perfect for the genre and provides a good overlap between the mystery, romance, and medical nature of the story. I’m usually not a fan of first person point of view, but halfway through the book I couldn’t help but root for Una after hearing so much of her inner monologue and seeing her growth through the pages. 

There were a few chapters where I felt too engrossed by the historical and medical content that I completely forgot this book is technically a mystery too, but the author worked hard to weave the suspense through the work. Although, I wasn’t precisely surprised by the “big reveal”, which I think worked better. The best mysteries are the ones you can work out yourself. 

Definitely recommend for historical fiction fans who love a good mystery set in the past!
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I love Amanda Skenandore and will read every book she puts out! This book was just as amazing as all of her past  works. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.
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After her mother's tragic death and her father's descent into alcoholism and opium addiction, Una Kelly has had to make a life for herself as a con-woman and pickpocket in the slums of New York City. After being accused of murder, Una is forced to go into hiding as a trainee nurse Bellevue Hospital. At first, Una does not take the nursing school seriously. It is only after she is threatened with expulsion that she commits herself to the program. Caring for the patients gives Una self-respect and a new purpose in life. When a former acquaintance unexpectedly dies at the hospital, Una becomes convinced that the young woman was murdered. Una risks exposure—and her life—as she works to draw out the killer.

THE NURSE'S SECRET is a captivating, well-written historical novel with secondary romance and mystery plotlines. Reader beware that the novel can be very explicit at times—after all, it is set in a hospital in the 1880's when medical care was still rather primitive. There is a lot of body fluids and gruesome injuries to keep Una and the other nurses busy. Skenandore does a great job showing the medical profession and procedures of the time period.

Una Kelly isn't always the most likable of protagonists—she's crass and very self-centered—but she is a character who is worth cheering for. As she gets more involved in the nursing program and finds that she enjoys the work, she really grows as a character. It was interesting to watch her develop throughout the novel.
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I love a good historical mystery. I don't even mind if it is on the unembellished side as this story was. In fact, its strength was its candidness and plain-speaking.

Mind you, the heroine had lived a complicated and suspicious life. In a nutshell, she was a thief and spent quite a bit of time on the streets. When greed surfaced, she got herself in trouble.

Una Kelly managed to escape to Bellevue's teaching hospital. She was falsely accused of murder and needed a safe place and some time to form a plan of action. A lie here, a fabrication there and she was in. What she wasn't expecting was friendship and to fall in love.

This was a gritty story. You'll read about vomit, unsanitary conditions and filth. It is hard to imagine comparing hospitals with today and what nurses had to contend with in the 19th century.

The mystery itself came about slowly and I wasn't hard-pressed to figure out the villain. Rather than go into so much of Una's background, I wish there was more action. I wanted a page-turner.

The romance that eventually came about was nice, but it felt odd because of Una's personality. Don't get me wrong, she deserved someone nice to court her, but when things mattered most, she ran into some problems. And the ending? [I wanted a definitive HEA. It left itself open. (hide spoiler)]

Thank you to NetGalley, Amanda Skenandore and Kensington Books for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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It’s been a long time i read historical fiction. And wow i love it! There’s mystery and romance included and you won’t get bored! Such a fun read!
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Thanks to Kensington books, the author and Net Galley for this advance copy.  I loved it!

What a great character we have in Una Kelly, a grifter who cons her way into nursing school to evade prison.  She is so spunky – not entirely likeable but she quickly grew on me, and I was rooting for her even as I shook my head at some of her choices. 
This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction set in New York City, in the 1880s. The smells, sounds, tastes and general atmosphere of poverty is almost palpable so well is it describe.   The author's extensive research pays off.   I love to learn as I read and I knew nothing about America’s first nursing school, Bellevue.  The author’s note at the end of this book was much appreciated and where she explains that she also didn’t fit the nurse stereotype just like our leading lady The Nurse’s Secret.    The author’s medical knowledge results in some excellent, authentic storytelling of life in a nursing school.  The female friendship with Dru and the romance interest with the doctor, Edwin  (and maybe also with Barney) was so well told.  Ultimately, there is also a murder mystery to be solved. The suspense had me on the edge of my chair and I finished this book in two sittings.  Excellent read!  This book has something for everyone and I am adding this author to my must read list.
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A really entertaining, informative novel! I loved it and had quite good laughs!
I learned so much about being a woman thief in New York in 1885! Una is a lovely, witty and no nonsense woman. She enjoys her job as a grifter. Unfortunately she got entangled in a murder enquiry and became a suspect. She manages to escape and looked for a safe place. What could she do? Reading the paper she discovered that a new training school for nurses had opened up....
What I loved in this novel is mainly the character of Una; brilliantly alive and vivid, honest in her warm way. I will not forget her! Full of action, twists and turns, I tremendously enjoyed her quest for a good life, and for her finding the real murderer....
I received a digital ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you so much!
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