The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund was sent to me as a review copy by Bethany House Publishers/Baker Publishing group.
The year is 1836, and Priscilla White is preparing to travel to India to serve as a missionary when the Mission Board delivers some unwelcome news: if she is to be sent as a missionary, she must be married.
Dr. Eli Ernest has already travelled once to Oregon Country, and his dream is to return there to set up a clinic and mission for the Nez Perce tribe. Upon his return back East, he discovers that his fiancé is no longer interested in returning to Oregon with him, nor is she interested in marrying him.
Caught between their desire to reach the people of the West for the Lord and the rules of the Mission Board, Priscilla and Eli make a decision that will affect the rest of their lives, for better or for worse.
Have you ever played the computer game Oregon Trail? I will be giving away my age here, but I used to love playing that game on our Apple IIe computers at my elementary school! In the game, players set out from the East to brave the Oregon Trail. Before you leave, you are given money to purchase supplies for the trip. Along the way, you encounter obstacles that would have actually happened on the real Oregon Trail: flooded rivers, dwindling food supplies, bad weather, and illness. In the game, if you do not make it to Oregon, you could just try again the next day.
But for the people who actually traversed the Oregon Trail in those early American pioneer days, there was no ‘trying again the next day.’ In fact, few white women even attempted the dangerous trip, and until 1836, those who did try did not make it into Oregon Country.
In The Doctor’s Lady, author Jody Hedlund creates a fictional story of the true story of Marcus & Narcissa Whitman and Henry & Eliza Spalding, missionaries who traveled west in 1836 to establish a mission in Oregon Country. Narcissa and Eliza are lauded as the first white women to successfully cross the Continental Divide and travel to the far American West.
I was very interested to read a book about the Oregon Trail. I have always enjoyed stories of the American pioneers (the Little House on the Prairie series being one of my favorites of all time), and I was interested from the beginning in the story of Pricilla and Eli and their marriage of convenience. So I was a little disappointed to not find out until the end of the book that this story was based on actual events! I definitely think I would have enjoyed this novel more if the information on Marcus and Narcissa had been given to me at the beginning. While the story was enthralling, it would have come alive even more for me if I had known ahead of time that most of the events were true. However, I guess the author probably didn't want to give away the ending to the story before you had even read the book!
As for the fictional aspect of the story, the characters, even the minor ones, were extremely well-developed. The descriptions of the surroundings and the circumstances made me feel as if I was right there travelling along with them. Priscilla goes through her own spiritual journey at the same time as she is going on the physical journey of being on the Oregon Trail, and this aspect of the story was done very well. I also felt that the author handled the infertility of Priscilla well. Her emotions and the situations relating to her infertility were genuine. I did, however, get somewhat impatient with the development of the romance between Eli and Priscilla. It was like a tennis match at times—will they get together?—will they not get together?—do they really love each other? – do they even like each other?—it got tiring for me towards the end.
Since this novel is authentic in its descriptions, it is grittier than some. I would even go so far as to give this book more of a PG or PG-13 rating, since there are mentions of attempted rape and other scenarios that I would consider to be more adult in nature.
The Doctor’s Lady is a thoroughly-researched fictional account of a woman’s journey across thousands of miles to serve her Lord on the mission field of the West. It paints a picture of what so many before us sacrificed in order to share the gospel of Christ with those who had never heard it before.
I will give The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund … 4 BookWorms.
I have an extra copy of this book that I would love to give away to one of my readers!
Please fill out the entry form below by November 11th. I will announce the winner on my blog on Monday, November 14th.
(US residents only, please.)
(US residents only, please.)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers/Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a copy of
The Doctor's Lady!
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by Jody Hedlund!