A Girl with a Knife — Hearts and Sails Book 1


Women could not be surgeons. She did it anyway.

After the heartbreaking loss of her mother and a cruel attack by her drunken father, Ella Parker decides that dishonesty is fine when it serves her needs. At a time when wealthy young ladies do little more than embroidery, Ella escapes her luxurious but lonely life, and meets an eccentric ship surgeon who—once she impresses him with her quick-thinking and empathy—allows her to assist him during a surgery.

Compelled by Ella’s intelligence and interest in medicine, the doctor prepares her for a medical career, but there’s a catch: in early 19th century England, women are not accepted into universities. To fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor, Ella must disguise herself as a young man. After changing her look and name, Ella finds her footing as she performs dissections, conducts experiments, and cares for patients. She also tutors Oli, a kind but struggling fellow student, but she must take caution. Even in her loneliest moment, she cannot trust anyone or make friends.

As Ella continues to excel in her studies, brilliantly saving the life of a patient, she becomes a top contender for the apprenticeship with a famed professor. Dogged by fear of discovery, she must choose between truth and lies, and distinguish between real and false friends, before her pretense is uncovered.

Praise for A Girl with a Knife

Illinois Author Project:  Judging Coordinator Gretchen Murphy, an adult services librarian at the Wheaton Public Library, said that Rubin’s “A Girl With a Knife” was praised by judges for its “immersive, realistic setting and (judges) were impressed by the medical and historical research that went into the book.”

"A thrilling debut by Alina Rubin, A Girl with a Knife has just the right amount of keen historical and medical detail, alongside a riveting story of a young woman determined to follow her dreams despite the odds stacked against her by a dogmatic, narrow-minded society." — Colin Mustful, author, historian, editor, and founder of History Through Fiction.

☆☆☆☆☆ “A Girl with a Knife is a riveting, juiced-up morality tale, predicted blockbuster success!”

~ 9 Minute Books Review Team  

Available at online retailers:

Amazon – e-book    paperback    large print hardcover

Barnes and Noble – paperback

Bookshop.org – paperback – support indie stores!

Target - paperback 

Available at indie bookshops:

Book Bin at Northbrook, IL- visit the store
Sterncastle Publishing and bookstore at Newport, OR - visit the store

Reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.  Please leave a review!

No Job for a Woman — Hearts and Sails Book 2

Coming April 2, 2023 Pre-order E-book now!

She sailed against the current.

Despite completing her medical education, Ella Parker fails to secure a job as a physician’s assistant. When practicing midwifery, she oversteps her boundaries to save a patient and risks arrest. Determined to help the sick and wounded, she joins her mentor, Dr. Pesce, on the warship, Neptune. When Dr. Pesce suffers an injury, she steps up to the job of the ship surgeon.


Ella wants to fit in with the all-male crew, but she doesn’t know their ways. Her inexperience shows when she treats cases she hadn’t observed in medical school. The seamen are unwelcoming and suspicious; some believe Ella to be a witch! Lieutenant Jack Wyse, though charged by the captain with protecting Ella, is keen on making her leave. Ailing Dr. Pesce, kind ship boy Tobby, and a silver-tongued chaplain Doolittle are her only friends. Humiliated by the cruel pranks and the ungratefulness, she is isolated and demoralized, exactly how Wyse wants her to feel.


After a fierce battle, Ella saves the handsome officer Robert Weston. Marrying him and transferring to his ship, the Crown, seems like a perfect solution, if not for leaving her few friends. Ella must decide where she belongs before her future sails away from her.

Praise for No Job for a Woman

"Set sail on a delightful adventure with Ella as she continues to blaze a career path where women are forbidden."- S. Lee Fisher author of multi-award-winning Becoming Olive W.

Reveal day 1

Abigail's Prayer - Coming Soon

After the death of their mother, nine-year-old Abigail chooses for her siblings to be adopted by their godmother, while she asks her estranged father for shelter. Rejected, she begs on the church steps on a cold Christmas night. An illness lands her in the hospital, where she meets a caring medical student, David (Oli Higgins), and becomes attached to him.

David takes Abigail to live with his family of devout Jews. Abigail finds kindness; her mother’s teachings become muddled with new beliefs. Her love for David grows. At thirteen, faced with a treacherous disease, she makes David promise to marry her at her majority. Recovered, she converts to Judaism to secure her place in the family and in David’s heart.

Years pass; another woman wins David’s love. Abigail loses her reason to live and contemplates suicide. To avoid her family’s concern, she accepts a marriage proposal from her adopted brother Moishe and plans a double wedding with David’s bride. Her loved ones must see through her deception before she follows through with her deadly plan. Abigail will need her family and her faith, old and new, to survive and rescue her abandoned siblings.