The novels in this volume give us insight into the status of a woman in the second half of the 19th century America. “Dr. Breen's Practice” is a novel about the rise of women into the medical field in the 19th century and the subsequent decision they had to make between the pursuit of a medical career and the temptation of marriage. “The Coast of Bohemia” and “Annie Kilburn” deals with the problem of labor and professions for women. William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was an American realist author, literary critic, and playwright. He was the first American author to bring a realist aesthetic to the literature of the United States. His stories of Boston upper crust life set in the 1850s are highly regarded among scholars of American fiction.