Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On My Nightstand - The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund

Priscilla White harbors a devastating secret. Marriage and family are out of the question for her. She decides to devote her life to missions in India. Her plans suffer a major setback when the Mission Board announces they won't accept the applications of single women.

Dr. Eli Ernest has a passion for the Nez Perce indians in the Oregon Territory. He's already been there and wants to return. He runs into the same problem as Priscilla.

Neither of them want marriage, but it's the only way to fulfill the call on their lives. She's honest about her condition, but he's more worried about her surviving the dangerous trip. No woman had ever attempted the journey.

Three cheers for author Jody Hedlund! She hooked me right away, and I finished this book within a few days. Anyone disturbing my reading time discovered I was still on a covered wagon headed west.

This book is based on the true story of Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman to cross into Oregon. Jody used her diaries as the primary source of information. It gave me a new perspective about keeping a journal, although I doubt mine would rate biography status.

Writers: If you're a historical writer, would you consider writing a fictional account of a real person? Why or why not?

Readers: Do you like books based on someone's life or do you prefer straight fiction?

Everyone: Would you want someone to tell the story of your life in a fictionalized account? Why or why not?

Disclaimer: I won this book in a giveaway on Carol Garvin's blog. Neither the publisher nor the author paid for this review. All opinion, as always, are mine.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan, Jody's book does look an interesting read .. and to hear she based her novel on the actual diaries of Narcissa Whitman must add a great deal of validity and actual vision of those days ..

If historical novels are well done - they're good .. to 'vet' them for authenticity is difficult for the lay person -

It's interesting - as people are portrayed wrongly .. as has happened with Emily Hobhouse, who is a 'relative' .. I've just posted about her.

Her great niece 'compiled' a trunk full of her papers into a book - but Jenny took a serious look at the times of the Boer War and read prolifically, researched too .. and is still doing so (Jenny is my mother's cousin).

Despite meeting with someone who'd inaccurately portrayed Emily (prior to publication) in his novel, couldn't be bothered to correct the facts ...

Interesting post and I'd like to read Jody's book sometime .. thanks - Hilary

Jessica Nelson said...

I prefer straight fiction. I really enjoyed this book but was so sad afterward to learn that Narcissa and her husband lost a young child, then were murdered. It ruins the happy romance feelings for me.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I loved this book! And the fact that it was based off a real person made it even more terrific. Jody keeps getting better and better.

Chatty Crone said...

Sounds like a great book. Sandie

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

Jody is a carefull researcher. At the end of the book, she gave details about Narcissa and where she took literary license.

I read your post about Emily Hobhouse. It's too bad the author did not acknowledge the inaccuracies.

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess - I prefer straight fiction as well and for the same reasons.

Hi Kathi - Jody's writing is flawless as usual. I can't wait for her next book to come out.

Hi Sandi - It was. :)


Karen Lange said...

I might consider basing a story on a real person, but I imagine it would take quite a bit of research. As for someone fictionalizing a story about me - I think I'll pass!

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Susan! Thank you so much for the shout out about my book!! I'm glad I was able to hook you and that you enjoyed your ride west! ;-) I personally find that writing about real people is my passion (if you haven't figured that out by now! :-)). But in my next couple of books, I'll be going straight fiction which has been fun too. I hope readers will enjoy them just as much, but I'm also planning to write some more inspired-by stories at some point! Have a wonderful day!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jodi -

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm looking forward to all your books whether they're based on real people or not. :)


Jeanette Levellie said...

I am currently reading this book and love it! LOVE it. Jody is an incredible writer who has the ability to weave a history lessson, love story, and spritual application all in one glorious read!

I enjoy fictinalizations of real people's lives, and I wouldn't mind someone writing a book about my life, as long as they left out the stupid parts. Oh, never mind, that wouldn't leave too much!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Your comments are as entertaining as your humor pieces. :)

I'm with you. I loved Jody's book, and I was sorry when I came to The End.


Rhonda Schrock said...

I'm also reading this right now. I won it on our mutual friend, Karen Lange's, blog!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda -

I've heard nothing but rave reviews for Jody's book. Glad you're enjoying it.

Susan :)

Amanda Beth - Author said...

I loved Jody's first book. I can't wait to read this one.

Diane Estrella recommended your blog to me. I just self-published my first book and I have a traditional publisher now interested in it. I am looking for people to help influence my book by reading and writing a review. If you would be interested, I would love to send you a copy. Please email me at

God bless you:)
Amanda Beth