A Measure of Mercy

Written by Lauraine Snelling
Review by Jeanne Greene

In A Measure of Mercy, author Lauraine Snelling introduces a young woman who wants to be a doctor. Nothing unusual about that—today—but this is 1903, when ninety-five percent of U.S. physicians are men. Female physicians are not welcome in some hospitals; some male doctors will not work with them. A woman must be very determined to succeed in medicine.

Although lady doctors are scarcer than hen’s teeth in 1903 North Dakota, Astrid Bjorklund, an intelligent and ambitious eighteen-year-old, has one in her family. Her sister-in-law, a medical doctor, trains Astrid and wants the girl to join her local practice. But Astrid wants to be a surgeon, which requires formal training. When an opportunity arises for study in Chicago, she is thrilled—until she hears how badly her skills are needed in Africa. With Joshua, the man she loves, out of her life, Astrid makes a difficult decision, but does she have the determination to carry it through?

A Measure of Mercy, billed as first of a new series, “Home to Blessings,” is neither a stand-alone nor a new beginning. The novel ends in a cliffhanger to up a sequel and, throughout, draws on personalities and story lines from Snelling’s previous inspirational novels. Adults new to her work are unlikely to find A Measure of Mercy challenging enough to try and catch up. Young adults and fans may enjoy the sweet if incomplete story enough to keep reading.