Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Review: The Doctor's Lady

I had the chance to review a new novel by debut Christian novelist Jody Hedlund called The Doctor's Lady.  Set in the 1830's, America is still fresh off its independence win over the British and is now stretching it's wings as they expand west.  The Christian community at the time is mission minded, though with little understanding of the harsh realities of foreign fields.  Priscilla is a young, rich, but independent minded lady from a prominent family in New York.  Medical woes have left her, in her mind, decidedly unmarried and suitable for the mission front.  Her mind is set on India- until an unexpected visitor and and an unexpected letter from the mission board throw her plans upside down.  With this visitor, a doctor named Eli, and her thrown by a decision out of their hands, they 'make do' and decide to attempt a marriage of convenience so they both can pursue their dream of missionary life- this time to the Nez Perce Indians on the uncharted West Coast of America. 

Hedlund tells a gripping tale which she gleans right from history- and diaries- from the real character Narcissa Whitman.  Historical accuracies down to the detail make this story even more engaging and heart wrenching.  As the story unfolds you find two people in an unexpected situation facing uncertain times and situations as they make their way across the plains, rivers, and mountains of a land only inhabited by the unknown and unpredictable Indian tribes. 

I found this novel to be a welcome twist on the traditional romance novel especially given its true origins and Hedlund's attempt at making it as accurate to the true story as possible.  I am not one to get emotional while reading, but found myself nearly laughing or tearing it up as I read the story of characters I came to love unfold.  The only downside of the novel was that I failed to understand and believe the Squire's character.  His actions and intentions didn't seem to add up given the background and information given.  Especially in the early parts of the journey west.  Hedlund would do well doing a part two of this novel as I am eager to find out how this 'fresh' pair do in the Nez Perce society in the hard west. 

A thanks to Bethany House publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.  I was given a copy of the novel in return for my review, but thoughts and opinions are all my own.


Debbie said...

I recently read this book as well and really liked it. Have you read "The Preacher's Bride"?

Jen Spica said...

No, but I want to. Have you?

Debbie said...

Yes, I read it awhile ago when it first came out. My mom works at the Christian bookstore in town and the author just happens to be from Midland. The store got some advance copies of both books I think. It's funny that you posted this today because my cousin also posted about this very book on her website today! She is a writer and blogs about her writing and reading experiences.

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Jen,

Thank you so much for the lovely review on my book, both here on your blog as well as on Amazon! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the book!

Many blessings!

Jody Hedlund