ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Life I Stole by Nikola Scott

The Life I Stole is Nikola Scott’s fourth novel and the fourth I have reviewed on my blog (you’ll find links to the others at the bottom of this post). It’s published by Headline and is available now in paperback, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to Nikola and the publishers for arranging my review copy.

It’s 1953. Memories of the war are beginning to fade.

Young Queen Elizabeth has just ascended to the throne. Isobel McIntyre is a doctor-in-training at a London teaching hospital. It’s not easy being a woman working in medicine. And Isobel carries the additional burden of a shocking secret . . .

One night three years ago, Isobel took on the identity of someone else. By the time she understood the implications, it was too late to turn back. Now the secret she’s been hiding for so long threatens everything – her career, new-found friendships, and a love affair that promises the kind of joy Isobel thought was only for others.

Love and happiness can’t thrive in a world of lies. But does Isobel have the courage to tell the truth, whatever the consequences?

The Life I Stole is set in 1953 and follows a young woman named Isobel who is training to be a doctor. Not only is this a challenge due to the expectation that women should not really progress to the higher ranks of medicine, but also because Isobel is living a lie. She’s not who she says she is, having grabbed an opportunity to live another woman’s life, and in turn take that woman’s place to study to be a doctor. I realise that this doesn’t portray Isobel in a particularly good light but, without giving any spoilers, the opportunity doesn’t hurt anybody and it gives her a chance to break away from a life that had far fewer prospects.

I always enjoy Nikola Scott’s books and I enjoyed The Life I Stole very much indeed. The story is narrated by Isobel and I liked seeing it unfold from her point of view. I especially relished the interesting scenes at the hospital following a consultant on his rounds, or those where she was out helping to save lives in the community. I loved Isobel’s feisty nature that couldn’t help but present itself, even when she knew she should be quiet and fade into the background.

Add some family intrigue, a potential love interest and some fascinating more minor characters and it makes for a really lovely and absorbing work of historical fiction. The early 1953s were an exciting time for medicine in Britain as the NHS, in its infancy, offered treatment to those for whom it had previously been unobtainable or too expensive. Scott has clearly done plenty of research and reading to get the facts right. A storyline packed with secrets, a spirited protagonist and a fascinating medical backdrop made this an excellent read for me.

Nikola Scott started her career in book publishing before she became a writer herself a decade later. Her acclaimed debut novel, My Mother’s Shadow, was translated into over a dozen languages and became a long-running bestseller in Norway. Her other novels, Summer of Secrets and The Orchard Girls, were also published widely around the world. Nikola lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two sons.


Please leave a comment - I love to read them!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.