It is 1811 and Dr Robert Willan, a Quaker, leaves his practice in London, where he has dedicated his life to treating the poor, for Funchal, Madeira. There, he hopes that the year-round warm climate will help improve his health and enable him to return to his work and the service of God.
During his harrowing course of treatment, he meets a group of unforgettable characters whose warmth, eccentricity and kindly humour provide medicine for the soul.
Now known as ‘the father of dermatology’, Willan’s life is recounted in KG Fleury’s witty, often humorous style while vividly describing an island occupied by military forces, the ravages of consumption and the traumatic remedies that Willan must endure.
At heart this is not a story of illness and suffering; rather it is a gentle, heart-warming tale of the power of true friendship and love.
KG Fleury was born and educated in Kent, but a career in the Civil Service took him to London and Belfast for several years. He then worked for Saga’s insurance and travel departments until his retirement in 2016 and now lives in Romsey, Hampshire, with his partner, Jenny. They love to travel and their favourite holiday destination is the beautiful island of Madeira, which provided the inspiration for Friends in Funchal.
Jean Taylor (Guest Review) - 28 Jun, 2022
I loved this book. It’s interesting both in terms of history and medicine but for me, the characters were the best thing about it. Every family needs a Dona Esmeralda! Funny, witty and moving.