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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

Wild Swan is Here!

"A collaboration of three strong women— one of history’s greatest heroines— Florence Nightingale, with award-winning actress, singer, and songwriter—Cynthia Erivo, and NYT bestselling author and podcast host — Patti Callahan."


An Audible Original

December 10, 2020

Available Now! Only from Audible

WILD SWAN The Story of Florence Nightingale

by Patti Callahan and performed by Cynthia Erivo

The New York Times bestselling author of BECOMING MRS. LEWIS Patti Callahan‘s WILD SWAN, a novella following the fiery life of one of history’s greatest heroines and the mother of modern nursing: Florence Nightingale.

WILD SWAN introduces listeners to the Lady with the Lamp long before she became a legend. In this poignant story, a young woman has just discovered her divine purpose to become a nurse and struggles to make that dream a reality. While traveling abroad with her close friend, Selina Bracebridge—another strong woman living an unconventional life—a rare opportunity arises for Florence to practice medicine. Intellectually gifted with an advanced education thanks to her father’s progressive political views, can the daughter of a prominent English family defy Victorian societal and familial expectations to fulfill her destiny and her dreams? Over the course of a few short years, Florence remains brave and determined in the face of all obstacles, pursuing her passion against her family’s wishes. From her parent’s luxurious countryside estate in England to her travels abroad to the German medical institute where she first began her training and fell in love with her work, we follow Florence during these pivotal early years of her extraordinary life.

View Wild Swan Web Page



What do these three courageous women have in common?

"N U R S I N G"

Florence Nightingale:

Founder of Modern Nursing

Cynthia Erivo:

Her mother is a Nurse.

Patti Callahan:

Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist prior to becoming a full-time

bestselling author.

Left Photo: Patti on the (right)

getting an early start.

Dear Friends,

It is the year 2020, the year of the nurse, the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale. She was a woman who never set out to build a saintly reputation, to become a myth, or to be surrounded by an ethos of hero worship. What she did do was set out to break societal bonds and familial expectations to fulfill what she felt was her life’s destiny and purpose. Like most good nurses, she felt called to the profession. As always, with any legend, a real and true life is hidden. What precedes the lore are actual choices and tipping points. She was, above all the merits and stories and books and what she called “fuzz buzz”, a woman who fought for a life of her own, a wild swan’s life. How are we to know anything in the middle of our actions? And how can we ever guess if we will inspire someone years down the road? Just like Florence, we can’t know. But we can answer the call to our passions and our work. Answering the call was up to her; but what happened after that was not. How could she have known what was to pass? She did the next right thing and didn’t give up. She persevered and she suffered and she never moved from the utter assurance that she was to be a nurse. I was inspired to tell these lesser-known stories of Florence’s life because before I was a novelist, I was a nurse, a pediatric nurse with a master’s degree in child health. I understood Florence’s obsession and passion. Of course, I didn’t need to break through societal or familial forbiddance of such a career; I was supported and even encouraged in my choice! And I know that much of that change is due to the bravery and influence of Florence Nightingale. I hope that in WILD SWAN you met a Florence well before mythology took her name and changed it to The Lady with the Lamp. And I hope she inspires you as she inspired me!

— Patti


About the Performer

Cynthia Erivo

Actress. Singer. Songwriter

Cynthia Erivo is a Tony®, Emmy® and Grammy Award-winning actress as well as a SAG, double Golden Globe®, and double Academy Award®-nominee. Erivo burst onto West End and Broadway stages in “The Color Purple” (based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name), and has since taken the big screen by storm. ​Erivo currently stars on the HBO series “The Outsider,” which premiered on January 12, 2020. The series is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.

Erivo recently starred in Kasi Lemmons’ “Harriet”, where she brought the legacy of African American civil rights activist Harriet Tubman to the big screen. The film follows Harriet Tubman as she escapes slavery and goes on to lead the Underground Railroad (2019) and Double Oscar nominee Erivo received Academy Award nominations for (2020) Best Actress and Best Original Song, "Stand Up" from "Harriet". Tony-winner Cynthia Erivo will join the star-studded cast of the upcoming "Chaos Walking" (2021) based on the 2008 novel by Patrick Ness.


About the Heroine

Florence Nightingale

Social reformer. Statistician. Founder of Modern Medicine. Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC, DStJ was an English social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale was a trailblazing figure in nursing who greatly affected 19th- and 20th-century policies around proper medical care. She was known for her night rounds to aid the wounded, establishing her image as the 'Lady with the Lamp.' Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Read More.


About the Author

Patti Callahan

New York Times Bestselling Author and

Podcast Host.

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction), BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (writing as Patti Callahan). In addition, she is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner "Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019.

Photo Credit: Bud Johnson Photography Savannah, GA

In March of 2021, a new historical fiction novel — SURVIVING SAVANNAH based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck will be released. WILD SWAN, a novella following the fiery life of one of history’s greatest heroines and the mother of modern nursing: Florence Nightingale by Patti Callahan will be released December 10, 2020, as an Audible Original performed by Cynthia Erivo. The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original "Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series" launched, October 2019. The podcast audiobook collection including bonus material was released in January 2020, and available now. The new expanded BECOMING MRS. LEWIS paperback edition was released on March 24, 2020, and available now. Patti Callahan is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly Friends and Fiction Facebook Live Show and podcast, featuring the five bestselling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Kristin Harmel, and Mary Alice Monroe with endless stories, special guests, and a way to connect readers and writers. THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER (writing as Patti Callahan Henry—Southern Contemporary Fiction) was launched in June 2019, and THE PERFECT LOVE SONG—A Christmas Holiday novella released in October 2019, and available now. A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband. Read More.


Let's Connect

Receive Our Latest Updates.

Taken from Patti Callahan's Dec 10, 2020 Newsletter

Click HERE to view and share the newsletter.


Why Audible?

It’s so interesting to see the renaissance that audio is experiencing right now and I’m glad to be a part of it with Audible.

  • Writing specifically for listeners is a challenging and rewarding experience for a writer – it’s a great opportunity to flex my storytelling muscles.

  • So much of what makes for a great story is in what you hear, not what you see. Listeners will be shocked by how entertaining a sound-only performance can be.

  • Now, with this Audible production, anyone with a smartphone can listen to my story anywhere, no matter what they are doing and throughout the course of their day, and share the listening experience with anyone.

  • Through this new Audible project, audiences can experience my writing in yet another surprising, entertaining, personal and lasting way.

What is Audible?

  • Audible is the world’s leading creator and distributor of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment.

  • Audible’s content library includes more than 550k titles from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers.

  • Audible supports creatives of all stripes: authors, performers, producers and beyond.

More About Audible Originals

  • Audible entertains, inspires, and informs millions of listeners around the world through outstanding audio storytelling.

  • Audible is the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks. Audible creates dynamic and differentiated audio entertainment experiences that cover a wide range of genres and subjects.

  • Listening makes us better. Audible enriches and enlivens everyday moments through the gift of “found time,” allowing users to listen while commuting, cooking, exercising, gardening, or relaxing at home.


From Patti Instagram @pattichenry


This is the year of the nurse. Which is apropos but not for the reason you might think (the Pandemic) but because it is the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale.

I wrote this novella to honor her life BEFORE the name The Lady with the Lamp took her real name. This story is about her early years as she struggles to break free of both familial and societal expectations that forbid her from becoming a nurse.

I have, as you can tell from the childhood photo, been long enamored of nurses and this story was waiting to be told.

And can I tell you about the narrator? Oh Lordy @cynthiaerivo of Tony award winning fame in The Color Purple brings Florence to life in a way I could not have imagined.

An Audible Original production, Wild Swan, will exclusively premiere on Audible in the new Audible Plus catalog! Go get you one! It’s so interesting to see the renaissance that audio is experiencing right now and I’m glad to be a part of it with Audible.

1 Comment

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Dec 22, 2022
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