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The Lobotomist's Wife

A novel by

An enthralling historical novel of a compassionate and relentless woman, a cutting-edge breakthrough in psychiatry, and a nightmare in the making.

Since her brother took his life after WWI, Ruth Emeraldine has had one goal: to help those suffering from mental illness. Then she falls in love with charismatic Robert Apter—a brilliant doctor championing a radical new treatment, the lobotomy. Ruth believes in it as a miracle treatment and in Robert as its genius pioneer. But as her husband spirals into deluded megalomania, Ruth can’t ignore her growing suspicions. Robert is operating on patients recklessly, often with horrific results. And a vulnerable young mother, Margaret Baxter, is poised to be his next victim.

Margaret can barely get out of bed, let alone care for her infant. When Dr. Apter diagnoses her with the baby blues and proposes a lobotomy, she believes the procedure is her only hope. Only Ruth can save her—and scores of others—from the harrowing consequences of Robert’s ambitions.

Inspired by a shocking chapter in medical history, The Lobotomist’s Wife is a galvanizing novel of a woman fighting against the most grievous odds, of ego, and of the best intentions gone horribly awry.

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"Woodruff easily pulls the reader into this story of a gifted man with the best of intentions slowly spinning out of control, and the woman who loves him gradually realizing that he must be stopped. Carefully researched and detailed, The Lobotomist's Wife emerges as a strong cautionary tale about the madness of power gone unchecked. A skillful debut!" - Shana Abé

"A dazzling, page-turning debut, The Lobotomist's Wife is the shocking tale of a pioneering lobotomist and his devoted ambitious wife. Not only did I stay up reading past midnight to find out what happened in this fascinating portrait of a marriage and mental hospital, the pitch-perfect ending thrilled me to the core." - Brooke Lea Foster

"Based on extraordinary real-life events, The Lobotomist's Wife is a riveting and impressive debut that had me in its grasp from the very first page. Samantha Greene Woodruff has crafted a suspenseful tale of good intentions gone awry that features an indomitable heroine who finds her strength and voice in the midst of harrowing circumstances. I simply could not put it down." - Paulette Kennedy

"The Lobotomist's Wife is a stunning exploration of blind ambition gone awry and the sacrifices one extraordinary woman must make in order to protect innocent people from harm. Woodruff impresses both with her prose and her mastery of this challenging subject matter. Readers are sure to be drawn to this compelling and relatable debut." - Lynda Cohen Loigman

"In her stunning debut, Samantha Greene Woodruff explores the fascinating world of midcentury mental health treatments with deft attention to rich historical detail and memorable characters who carry the story with heart and heft. Woodruff has skillfully crafted a novel with an artfully structured second story line, a propulsive ending, and an underlying theme so relevant to the struggles of the modern day. I absolutely loved this novel and can't wait to see what she does next!" - Susie Orman Schnall

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