I didn't realize until I finished this book that it is based on the true life story of two missionaries. I appreciated the author's passion and respect for these people. I loved the tension in the beginning when Priscilla will not be allowed to be a missionary unless she is married, and the seemingly arrogant missionary Eli finds himself in the same situation. Each need the other, much to their dismay. They marry so that they can serve on the mission field, and the sparks begin to fly! I love the banter back and forth, as well as the draw each of them has toward the other. Well written!! The book painted such a practical picture of what life on the mission field would have been like at that time and in that area. I got a glimpse into difficulties that I'd never considered. The story was humorous, touching, romantic, sad....all the things you'd want in a good book. However, after the long, hot and cold relationship between these two people, I was disappointed in the conclusion. After reading hundreds of pages, all of a sudden it resolves in about two paragraphs. Not enough for me. When I read the personal pages from the author after finishing the story, I found that this was based on real people. Perhaps the author felt that she needed to be extra sensitive regarding the resolution of their relationship, out of respect. I understand that, but it was still disappointing to me. Other than that, I thought the book was engrossing and thoroughly enjoyable.
This book wasn't what I expected. I knew it was about a marriage of convenience between two people who wanted to establish a mission among native Americans in the early 1800's, but I thought it would tell about them establishing the mission. Instead, it's the story of their journey from New York to Oregon, first by ship, then by wagon, to establish the mission. It's the story of how they learn to care for one another through all the hardship they endure along the way. It's also the story of how they learn to overcome their own ideas and recognize their own weaknesses, so they can more fully rely on and submit to God.
I liked this book.
After the conclusion, Jody Hedlund explains that the book is based, pretty extensively, on the true story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitmanâ€”and their travelling companions. Narcissa and one of those companions, Eliza Spalding, were the first white women to cross the Continental Divide and travel to the West. They did this in 1836. Hedlund used Narcissa's journals as the primary source for this book, "The Doctor's Lady."
If you enjoy historical fiction (in this case, mostly truth) with subtle, but powerful, messages about trusting in God and building a strong marriage, I recommend this book. I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.
Love Jody Hedlund's writing! The Doctor's Lady is based on the real-life characters of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman although the author has changed the names. Whew! I was hooked by the first page. Not only is the writing style and pacing superb the chemistry between the main two characters is riveting and tingling. Give me a man like Eli please! I also have so much respect for those Oregon Trail pioneers. They had to give up and endure so much. Some to go to new lands, but others like the Whitmans to be missionaries. I would hope that if I were ever called to a foreign mission field that I would be able to have the dedication and grace that these two had.
Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.
Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.
The Doctor's Lady is the first novel by Judy Hedlund that I have read, and it certainly will not be the last. Her writing draws the reader into the story and her descriptions allow the reader to picture the scenes with each turn of the page.
I immediately fell in love with Priscilla and Eli, and I felt that I already knew Eli, and in fact, I did! Eli's character is based on Marcus Whitman, and I had met him in a story I read to my children about the first wagon train to travel the Oregon Trail. (Priscilla's Character is based on Marcus wife, Narcissa.)
Reading this story I watched the character's as their endurance was tested time and again. Leaving loved one's behind, knowing that they most likely would never see them again. The fears they faced, and conquered, as well as the physical endurance: the tiredness, the aches and pains, illness, and loss. They endured and were strengthened. Their faith also was tested, but with each trial, it was also strengthened.
I highly recommend this book, but if you have a teen that is interested in reading The Doctor's Lady, please read it yourself first, because there are a few violent scenes and themes centered around marriage issues that you may not want your teen to be exposed to yet.
About the Author:
Jody Hedlund is a debut historical romance novelist who was a double finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis Contest in Historical Romance. She received a bachelor's degree from Taylor University and a master's from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. Visit her website at JodyHedlund.com.
**The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund was provided for me free by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
I really loved the beginning half of the novel, but towards the end it really slowed down for me. I didn't feel like the romance was developing enough. And so much happened, it seemed to hop from event to even really quickly.
I enjoyed the start of the book very much, before they started their journey west. Priscilla was downright unlikeable, but I really liked the author's choice to portray her this way. She was so sheltered and close-minded at the beginning, we were really able to appreciate her growth so much more.
I really appreciated the fact that the story was based on the true story of a real life heroine. I was glad the author showed us a little of the real doctor's wife's story in the author's note at the end. Ironically, some of the stranger plots from the story were ones based on true events!
Overall, I think this will appeal to fans of American pioneer stories as well as fans of sweet romance.
book sent by publisher in exchange for honest review