Since the time I’ve came across The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund November last year, I’ve been wishing to read this sweet historical romance. It was only through a recent contest at Kindle on the Cheap that I finally received a copy. After I finished reading it the other day, I’ve been restless. I know I just have to share this book to my friends.
The book, set in 1836, tells the story of Priscilla White and Dr. Eli Ernest who are both single yet filled with the desire to be missionaries. They have applied to be so, but the mission board no longer permits the sending of unmarried men and women into the mission field (one of the reasons subtly stated is to prevent the unwanted strain in the relationships between the missionaries and the natives due to “loneliness”). The two’s last resort is to get married. So they enter into a marriage of convenience they call “a partnership”. It is a partnership alright; they are like business partners watching each other’s backs like vultures over a carnage, fully conscious that their journey west to Oregon is a treacherous one. Along the way, after several near-death and life-changing experiences, Priscilla and Eli open their hearts to one another.
The idea of marriage of convenience in the book got into me. Although this kind of arrangement is a common thing of the past, I’ve always been fascinated by the whole concept; it gives me so many things to imagine about, such as the discomfort of the couple on their wedding night or the ridiculous anxiety to know what the other person is thinking about. In the case of Priscilla and Eli, however, they are so focused on becoming missionaries it took them time to really notice each other, probably near half-way of the book. Hey, just so you know, I’m not complaining; I actually admire the pacing of the story line and the inevitable development of the main characters.
Speaking of character development, it does not just refer to Priscilla’s and Eli’s growing feelings for each other but it also refers to their separate journey of self-discovery as well as the ability of the characters to cope and survive by whatever means the harsh side of nature. The focus of the story is the couple but as a reader, I could see the supporting characters developing even if their presence in the book is not as abundant as Priscilla’s and Eli’s, such as Henry and Eliza Spalding. Oh, there are a lot of twists and heart-breaking turns in the story, so I have to give an applause to Jody Hedlund for a well-written book.
It was the author’s note at the end of the book that made me, without a moment’s doubt, stamp The Doctor’s Lady with five stars (more, if possible). You see, Hedlund pointed out that Priscilla and Eli are characters inspired from the true story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman who served an important role in the
Trail. And the Spaldings in the story are based on the real
Spaldings who accompanied the Whitmans on the trail. Narcissa and Eliza are
considered the first white women to cross the Rocky Mountains and reach . Oregon
After I read this final note, I went beyond my reading to research on the Whitmans. Of course, since I’m not from the
and my knowledge on the pioneer trail is only limited to caravans and mules, the
extended reading about the Whitmans was educational to me. I learned a lot just
reading the fictional (yet seemingly true) story of Priscilla and Eli, which
extended to online research. At certain intervals, I wish I hadn’t read more on
the Whitmans because learning of their tragic end was like extinguishing my The-Doctor’s-Lady-ends-with-happily-ever-after
clouds above my head with cold water. Well, overall, it was an unforgettable bittersweet
reading experience. United States
Thank you, Jody.
To learn more about the author, please click here.
To know more about Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, check out this site.
View the beautiful book trailer of The Doctor's Lady below.
This is my January book review (book 1) for the Reading Romances 2012 Challenge.
I welcome your comments. Post a comment and provide a link to your site so I can visit. Please follow me and I’ll return the favor. Thank you!
- Nancy -