from author’s website, in her own words

After a career in sales and marketing and raising two boys active in sports, right through the college level, I asked the age-old question, Now what? I didn’t spend long looking for my answer. I found it within the return hits from a genealogy search on my great-great-grandfather, William S. Peirce, Esquire. From He took an active part in founding the Woman’s Medical College in Philadelphia.

Inspired by that line, more research ensued, and a story and characters formed. The early graduates of the Woman’s Medical College have remained in the shadows. Their stories needed to be told. With a love of history, I balanced a need for authenticity and details with a flair to create emotional connections to fictional characters.

While my family has roots in Philadelphia, I am a Boston girl through and through, from my accent to the cans of baked beans in my pantry, to the New England Patriots flag that hangs over our driveway every fall. I grew up outside of Boston and remained in Massachusetts, graduating with a B.A. in Psychology from Wheaton College, at the time, an all-women’s college. At Wheaton, I developed a fond appreciation of the supportive relationships established between students, faculty, and alumnae and a heightened awareness of female-centric issues. Both directed my writing of The Unlocked Path.

With a plot and themes sketched, I enrolled in a creative writing course sponsored by Wesleyan University to hone my skills. Combining years of extensive research and feedback from writers’ conferences and a series of beta readers, I polished my manuscript and readied it for publication with Black Rose Writing.

Splitting my time between Cape Cod, New Hampshire, Florida and hotels along Route 95, a tablet became my Kindle library and desk, packed into a travel bag for reading and writing wherever I might land. My husband, along with our rescue pup, has willingly, and luckily, also embraced this nomadic lifestyle. More adventures beckon me to document other women in history whose stories need to be discovered.


For the month of March, 2023, Janis Robinson Daly has compiled a list of historical fiction representing thirty-one titles to read, discover, learn, and celebrate women who’ve made history, individually or collectively. Their achievements languish in the shadows, awaiting authors to write their stories and readers to embrace them. Follow along with Janis in her celebration of Women’s History Month through her website.


The Unlocked Path presents and embraces a “New Woman” of the early 20th century: educated, career-minded, independent. In 1897 Philadelphia, after witnessing her aunt’s suicide, Eliza Edwards vows to find ways to help and heal. Rejecting her mother’s wishes for her society debut, Eliza enters medical college at a time when only five percent of doctors are female. With the support of a circle of women and driven by a determination to conquer curriculum demands, battle sexism, and overcome doubts, Eliza charts a new life course. Combining science and sympathy, can she triumph to heal others and herself?

Purchase your copy here.


“People looking for a touching story about a woman seeking a professional life in a time when that was not widely accepted will be delighted by Daly’s novel.” -Manhattan Book Review

“Bursting with historical detail on every page.” -Juliette Fay, USA Today bestselling author of The Tumbling Turner Sisters and the recent highly acclaimed, Catch Us When We Fall

“An often riveting fictional testament of a doctor’s life at the turn of the 20th century.” Kirkus Reviews

“Eliza’s discovery of “the why” echoes a story that we all carry in our hearts. Great historical fiction is timeless.” -Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH, Executive Director, American Medical Women’s Association and editor, This Side of Doctoring: Reflections from Women in Medicine

“Flawlessly researched with characters that come alive on the page, debut author Janis Robinson Daly writes with a fresh voice that brings her readers instantly into a story that, in many ways, is shockingly similar to today’s world.” -Barbara Conrey, USA Today bestselling author of Nowhere Near Goodbye

“Eliza sees the best and worst of humanity, but never falters from her mission to limit suffering and save lives. It’s a story of the ties of family, and friends and colleagues who become family. It’s about love and loss, and the eternal struggle to live one’s best life. Fans of literary medical historical fiction such as Abraham Verghese’s Cutting For Stone or The Girl In His Shadow by Audrey Blake will enjoy the rich period detail and emotional impact of The Unlocked Path.” -Tracey Enerson Wood, author of International Best Seller The Engineer’s Wife

“In The Unlocked Path, Janis Robinson Daly movingly depicts the monumental struggles early women physicians faced, and the much-needed niche they filled. Meticulously researching a fascinating era in our history and creating an engaging narrator to guide us through it, Janis Robinson Daly has delivered a winner.” Sally Cabot Gunning, author of The Widow’s War and Painting the Light

“Eliza Edwards chooses an unconventional path. Choosing to ignore high society and commit to medical school, she must possess an unwavering belief in herself. She decides that to succeed, she must change the system. Eliza will win you over with her quiet strength and kind heart.” -Kerry Chaput, author of Daughter of the King


Author visits with Janis Robinson Daly are available via