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

She sailed against the current         

Ella Parker’s male alias was a star pupil in medical school. But as a woman in 1810 England, Ella cannot find a job as a doctor’s assistant. In a life-or-death emergency with a mother in labor, she oversteps her boundaries and risks arrest. Determined to practice medicine, she decides to join her mentor on the Neptune, a warship heading for open waters.                                                                                                   

Following an accident, she is quickly thrust into the role of ship surgeon, and her skills are put to the test. Hoping to fit in with the all-male crew and make friends, instead, Ella creates chaos and suspicion among the superstitious sailors. Lieutenant Jack Wyse, though charged by the captain with protecting Ella, is keen on making her leave.

After a fierce battle, Ella saves the handsome officer, Robert Weston. Her commitment to her profession is tested, however, when he asks for her hand in marriage. But are Weston’s intentions sincere, and would he allow her the freedom to pursue her calling? 

Ella must decide where she belongs before her future sails away from her.

The second novel in the Hearts and Sails series, by award-winning author, Alina Rubin.

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.

Available at online retailers:

Amazon – e-book    paperback 

Barnes and Noble – paperback

Bookshop.org – paperback – support indie stores!

Available at indie bookshops:

Book Bin at Northbrook, IL- visit the store

Free Novella - Hearts By the Sea

Hearts and Sails Prequel

An innocent game brings unforeseen consequences

In the idyllic setting of a seaside holiday in 1800s England, Jamie experiences his first infatuation when he meets the beautiful and mysterious Ella. As the children bond over the Romeo and Juliet rehearsal, Jamie wants to learn what troubles her. The two decide to sneak out for a swim at night. Their plans are dashed by the terrible news Jamie’s family receives. When Ella leaves town, Jamie must cling to the hope of finding her… and himself.

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