Monday, November 21, 2011

The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund


 Having learned several years prior that she will likely never have children, Priscilla White is prepared to leave behind her former aspirations of wife and mother for a teaching position in India. Once the mission board gives her their final letter of approval, she'll be on her way. However, her church's Sunday morning arrival of another prospective missionary, Dr. Eli Earnest, brings an unwelcome dose or reality when he plainly informs her the board has decided only married couples will be allowed to travel to their desired mission posts.

Unbelieving, Priscilla soon discovers his words are true when she receives her own letter of apologetic dismissal from those who hold her very future in their hands. Feeling crushed, she wonders just what is to become of her calling to serve in India and the carefully mapped out plans for her life? Meanwhile, Dr. Earnest is pondering the same thing as he longs to minister to the Nez Perce tribe out West. A marriage of convenience seems the only alternative for them, but both have serious reservations about entering into a business partnership, especially with each other. Yet, with options dwindling, what choice do they have? Will Eli and Priscilla join forces together or allow their individual dreams to fall by the wayside?

The Doctor's Lady is a really good read. You know, the kind you don't want to put down because you're sure if you do, something will happen when you're not looking. Those pages might just pack themselves up and run off if you don't keep an eye on them...In fact, I've usually found the best spot for safekeeping is on a bed stand. That way, you can take periodic peeks to make sure your treasure is still there; even if it means partaking in an all night vigil. Yup, that's how seriously I took my responsibilities for The Doctor's Lady, and you should too.

The writing is quite strong, the characters well fleshed out, the journey interesting; with just enough details to satisfy those curious about what so many pioneers went through, and the overall tone vibrates with tension. I found the scenes between Priscilla and baby David extremely moving and realistic. As a new mom myself, I could totally relate to her feelings of love, loss and despair. Kids have a way of unexpectedly grabbing your heart and not letting go. This was portrayed wonderfully here and brought a tear to my eyes. Continuing our travels with Priscilla and Eli, we also share in their sorrow, joy, weariness, wonder and growth. Growth individually, toward each other, and most importantly, in Christ. They each have personal demons to conquer as they discover the paths to humility, trust, and dependence on others. Eli, especially, is prone toward independence and leaning on his own strength above all else. Can he relinquish control to the one who holds their future in the palm of his hand? Or will his pride be the downfall of all those entrusted to his care?

If you haven't yet picked up a copy of The Doctor's Lady, then make haste to the nearest bookstore. And dust off a spot on your night table.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

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