Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review - The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund

As I read this book, I thought many times of the theme song and movie to How the West Was Won. During the 1800s in the United States, the West was the great hope of a better life for many people.

My ancestors came west during that time so I've read a lot about pioneers who crossed the plains and climbed the Rocky Mountains. I could hardly wait to read Jody's new novel to see how she portrayed that era. 

The Doctor’s Lady is a wonderful read full of everything you expect and more. It's about a young missionary couple determined to set up a mission in the Oregon Country to help the Nez Perce natives. It’s the story about travelers on the Oregon Trail and the hardships they endured, but mostly it’s the story of a couple destined to be together and find love

Doctor Eli Earnest is a rugged explorer of the West. The Nez Perce Indians want him to buy some of their land and set up a medical clinic and mission. He returns east with two young Nez Perce men in an effort to raise money to do so. However, once he raised the needed funds the Board of Missions won’t let him journey west until he marries. 

FYI: The Mission Board during this time really did require those going into the mission field to be married.

Enter Priscilla White, a beautiful woman, who has refused to marry because she is unable to have children, has her heart set on traveling to India to do God’s work. She’s hoping the Board will make an exception in her case and not require her to marry. She is devastated when they reject her petition. But when she’s approached with the idea to marry Dr. Earnest and go with him, she readjusts her thinking and realizes that this may be an answer to her prayers. 

FYI: At this time a white woman had never been west of the Continental Divide. Many believed that the West was no place for a lady. The women who had tried to live there were sent home in coffins. 

Against Eli’s better judgment, he agrees to marry Priscilla, but promises her that once they arrive in Oregon Country, if she feels she can’t handle the hard life, he will give her an annulment and send her home. Their marriage becomes a business arrangement that will give them both what they want. 

However, on their journey they are met with one hardship after another that tests their dedication not only to missionary work, but also to their “business” arrangement. After all this is historical romance. 

FYI: This novel was based on the true story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. She was lauded as the first white woman (along with Eliza Spalding) to cross the Continental Divide and travel to the far West. Jody Hedlund says about Narcissa in her author’s notes, “Because of her willingness to brave the unknown, she [Narcissa] led the way for many women who would follow in her footsteps on what would later become known as the Oregon Trail.” 

Hedlund has done her homework on this novel and it shows in the wonderful imagery and moving story about two people beating the odds and finding love. Here's the beautiful trailer for the book.

Okay, if you have stopped by my blog lately you know that I've been giving away a book once a week. A while back Jody mentioned that I could have a book to giveaway on my blog, but I wasn't sure and I didn't want to press, so I selected another book for this week's giveaway.

HOWEVER, I have learned that Jody is going to donate a signed copy of her book!!!

So because I've already announced the book (The Hidden Branch) for this week, I'm going to have The Doctor's Lady as the book for next week's drawing. 

Please drop by next week, become a follower of my blog and leave a comment some time between October 3rd and the 9th and your name will go in the drawing for The Doctor's Lady. 

(This novel was published by Bethany House. I received a free copy to review, but I reviewed the book because I liked it.)



  1. I'm Jody's critique partner and was privileged to read two versions of The Doctor's Lady in manuscript form. What a thrill it was to read the story in book form and see the fruit of Jody's efforts. I know how much time and heart she poured into this book and am thrilled with the final result. It's no surprise to me that readers are loving it.

    I read the first draft of Jody's third book and loved the interactions between her hunky logger hero and spunky idealistic heroine. There are some sparks, and, in true Jody Hedlund fashion, there's an action-packed page-turning plot. I think her third book just might be my favorite, and I feel certain her readers are going to enjoy it.

  2. Keli,
    Jody knows her stuff! I love how she brings history to life through her characters.

    Now that you described her third book I can hardly wait. Do we have to wait a year to get our hands on it?

  3. Wow this sounds like a wonderful story. If the competition is open for foreigners, I'll definitely will be back next week.


  4. Misha:
    This book is all sorts of awesome!

    Rats! Next week's book giveaway is only open to those in the U.S. Has to do with mailing costs. Where do you live?

  5. Hi Kathi and visitors! Thank you for such a lovely review, Kathi! I love the way that you interspersed the FYI into the various parts of your review! Was delightful to read!! Thank you so much for having me today! :-)

  6. Jody,
    You're welcome. It was a pleasure. :)

  7. Jody is one of my favorite authors. I loved her first book and can't wait to read the next. :)

  8. Michelle,
    She is pretty awesome and so are her books. :)

  9. She sounds like a great writer. I'm going to have to pick up one of her books. =)

  10. Carolyn:
    She's great. I think you'd enjoy her novels. I know I do. :)



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