The “first ever” work of historical fiction about the life of Ireland’s first female vet will be released in October 2022.
Sourcebooks will publish the post, which South African journalist-turned-author Penny Haw wrote, on October 4.e2022.
The invincible Miss Cust is based on the real life of Aleen Isabel Cust. She challenged her family and society to become Britain and Ireland’s first female vet.
Its release coincides with the commemoration of the 100e-anniversary of Cust finally graduating from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
First female veterinarian
Through Penny Haw’s meticulous research, compelling storytelling and elegant prose, Aleen’s story of ambition, determination, family, friendship and passion comes to life.
It’s a story that, even today, women will recognize, of fighting against patriarchy and an unequal society to achieve her dreams and pave the way for other women in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, says the house of editing.
Sourcebooks described The invincible Miss Cust as following:
“Aleen Cust has big dreams, and no one – not her family, not society, not the law – will stop her.”
“Born in Ireland in 1868 into an aristocratic English family, Aleen knew she was destined to work with animals. The idea of a woman pursuing a career as a veterinarian appalled her family.
“Going against their wishes but with the encouragement of the guardian assigned to her on her father’s death, Aleen attended the New Veterinary College in Edinburgh, enrolling as an AI Custance to spare her family the humiliation they fear.”
“Finally, she is on her way to becoming a veterinarian. Little does she know that her greatest obstacles await her.
Help from Irish vet
Penny explained that in addition to the required research, writing the book involved imagining and describing related thoughts, conversations, emotions and relationships, the accuracy of which only those involved could verify.
She described creating historical fiction as “reading between the lines and filling in the gaps with speculative pleasure.”
“First of all, Miss Cust’s story is so remarkable that my story didn’t need any large-scale embellishment.”
As well as working on the available information, Penny relied on the technical expertise of her friend, Sussex-based Irish vet Richard Lyons MVB MRCVS.
“Mr. Lyons is a recently retired but still passionate veterinary surgeon with over forty years of experience. He is also Irish.
“First, he helped me groom the dogs, hoist the horses, rescue the cows and deworm the sheep. He guided me through the technicalities and all things Irish,” she concluded.
A two-day Aleen Cust Centenary Conference will be held at ATU Mountbellew, Co. Galway on August 11e and August 12e2022.
Read more in this news article.