The latest novel by Paulette Mahurin, A Different Kind of Angel, was inspired by real events chronicled by a journalist for The World News, Elizabeth Cochrane (pen name, Nellie Bly), in 1887. The Jewish Klara Gelfman had a rather normal life in Kiev until the Jews were blamed for the assassination of Russia’s Tsar Alexander II and a fierce pogrom took place in 1881. Klara, suddenly bereft of her mother and siblings, had to flee from Kiev with her father. While traveling to America, her father became ill and died. Klara is unable to express herself in English upon the arrival in the land of freedom and is immediately sent to an asylum for insane people, without any medical research or diagnosis.
Five years of a living hell where the young Klara – she was 19 when she was locked up – had to face malnutrition, torture, sexual abuse, and a stunning absence of any doctor. While some women in their wing indeed were insane, several fellow inmates weren’t just as Klara. With the help of Catherine, she’s able to learn English by reading novels and practicing her vocabulary. Pivotal is the arrival of Nellie who dares to stand up against the wards and nurses and in ten days not only suffers the same treatment as Klara and the other women but also collects enough material to call for her lawyer and lead Catherine and Klara to freedom, as if an angel came to set them free. In 1947 Klara reflects upon her life and serves as the protagonist for this heart-breaking, dark piece of history.
As long as you accept that a former illiterate girl can share rich conversations and details about the life on Blackwell’s Island, this history-fueled fiction is again a great addition to Mahurin’s oeuvre.
About the author
Paulette Mahurin is a best selling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.
Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award-winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the top ten bestseller lists on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K. and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth book, A Different Kind of Angel, was released in August, 2018.
Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.
The author sent me a free review copy in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.