All She Left Behind

Written by Jane Kirkpatrick
Review by Diane Scott Lewis

Jennie Pickett deals in herb healing and longs to become a doctor in 1860s Oregon. She marries her sweetheart, Charles, and has a son, Douglas, while she puts her dreams aside. Charles becomes a raging alcoholic, and Douglas resents his mother’s reprimands toward his beloved dad. Jennie works hard to hold her family together. She sells herbal tinctures and always forgives her volatile husband. Divorce is a sin she doesn’t wish to face.

The Oregon frontier is changing, and more women are graduating from medical college. Jennie hasn’t the money for college so takes to nursing instead. She cares for the ailing wife of a prominent reverend, Josiah Parrish. Charles deserts her, and Jennie is heartbroken and must forge ahead on her own. Will she ever achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor, and discover true love?

Based on real events, the story of Jennie Pickett needed to be told. I found little about her on the internet, so I commend the author’s careful research. Kirkpatrick’s descriptive prose and the conflicts, heartache, and perseverance Jennie experiences drew me in from the first page. The Christian aspect is woven seamlessly into the story. Time-shifts and transitions can be abrupt, but the novel is a wonderful read. I hope people flock to All She Left Behind to learn more about this fascinating woman. Very highly recommended.