I found out that Jody Hedlund is a homeschooling mom of five kids, so it’s amazing that she made the time to research and write this book, but I’m glad she did. The story is very, very loosely based (“inspired by” might be more accurate) on the historical figures of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and their fellow missionaries and travel companions Henry and Eliza Spalding.
In The Doctor’s Lady, Priscilla White and Eli Ernest are pressed into a marriage of convenience based on their common calling to be missionaries in an era (the 1830’s) when missions organizations would only support married candidates. Priscilla and Eli agree to live as “business partners,” so that if the living conditions in the untamed West are too rough on a refined East Coast lady, they could get an annulment and Priscilla could go back home. This arrangement becomes increasingly difficult as Priscilla and Eli grow in respect and attraction toward each other as they travel the Oregon Trail toward the Native American people they plan to live among.
Jody Hedlund does a great job of detailing the sights, smells, and sounds of the westward journey and portraying just how challenging it was–especially for women, and even more so for women who were pregnant or caring for young children. Priscilla’s devotion to God, willingness to sacrifice everything, and love for unsaved people serve as an example for every Christian.
Eli, though he has his faults, is a good hero: brave, capable, chivalrous, and charming. And he flirts with his wife, which gains him even more points with me.
I didn’t want to put this book down! You can probably figure this out without my saying so, but it has a happy ending, and I do love a happy ending.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.