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Archive for October, 2011

I eagerly awaited the delivery of The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund. I had immensely enjoyed her debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, and hoped that this second offering would be exceptional as well. I was not disappointed.

The Doctor’s Lady is the fictionalized story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman (Eli and Priscilla Ernest in the novel). Narcissa, along with her husband and traveling partners Henry and Eliza (Mabel) Spalding, was the first white woman to endure the overland crossing to Oregon.

Jody has once again brought the people of our past to life with an attention to historical detail that adds to the characterization rather than overwhelming it. I love the fact that Priscilla is imperfect and has a lot of growing to do throughout the story. Her understanding of God, herself, and others around her grows at a steady rate proportional to the trials she faces. There are no forced scenes in this book – only human actions and reactions to the stresses faced by the characters.

Prscilla’s relationship to her husband-in-name-only, Dr. Eli Ernest, is fraught with both love and hunger. Jody did an excellent job of laying the foundation of Eli’s intense need to both protect Priscilla and achieve his God-given dream of starting the mission and medical clinic in Oregon among the Nez Perce natives. It was both a joy and a heartache to watch the love of these two characters unfold on the long and treacherous journey west. The heartache is, however, well-rewarded in the end.

I give The Doctor’s Lady five stars.

**This book was given to me as a review copy by Bethany House Publishers.**

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