by Shannon Flaherty
Sally Smith O’Rourke is bringing a new love story to City of Hope. The operating room (OR) technician saw her first novel, “The Man Who Loved Jane Austen,” published by Kensington Books last week.
The novel has already garnered rave reviews from a variety of Web sites, including Barnes and Noble, New and Used Books and Paranormal Romance, as a charming work of modern fiction with a time- travel side story intertwined. The story revolves around the protagonist, present-day artist Eliza Knight, who seeks to determine if there was a real Mr. Darcy that inspired Jane Austen’s dashing and cavalier character in “Pride and Prejudice.” Amid her discovery, the character finds herself in a modern-day love affair.
Rivaling her novel’s romantic storyline, though, is O’Rourke’s own story of how the novel came to be. “I wrote and researched the story with my husband, Michael,” explained O’Rourke. Michael O’Rourke, who died in 2001, was a freelance medical writer with whom City of Hope contracted for a short time. “He passed away a few years ago, but he had always said that the story and the book itself were our ultimate valentine,” said Sally O’Rourke.
Originally released to friends and families in hand-bound copies she typeset herself, the book caught the attention of a literary agent, who sold it to Kensington. And as Romantic Times BOOKclub wrote in its recent interview with O’Rourke, “the rest, as they say, is (revamped) history.”
O’Rourke joined City of Hope in June 2005 after completing certification as an OR technician at Glendale Career College. She received further training on the Intuitive Surgical daVinci robot at City of Hope, and she currently assists surgeons as they operate using the robotic-assisted surgical systems in Helford Clinical Research Hospital at City of Hope.
The Gift Shop at Helford Hospital will host a book signing with O’Rourke on May 8.