Comes a Time for Burning

Written by Steven F. Havill
Review by Trudi E. Jacobson

This second book about Dr. Thomas Parks, who practices medicine in 1892 in the Pacific Northwest, is just as enjoyable as the first, Race for the Dying. Dr. Parks has settled into the community of Port McKinney, Washington, and his new wife’s pregnancy is coming close to term. As the book opens, a logger from one of the nearby timber operations is brought in with painful injuries to his fingers. They are not, as might be expected, from a work-related accident, but rather from a finger wrestling contest. An emergency with a lumberjack quickly follows, but the worst is yet to come: the discovery of a cholera case in town. The horror of what might come if the contagion spreads unchecked leads Dr. Parks and his brand new medical partner to extraordinary measures on their own parts, and the demand that others do the same. Some show their bravery, others resist. Two of the most fascinating are the unbending Pastor Patterson, and his extraordinarily brave stepdaughter, Elaine, who steps in to nurse the ill when her older sister flees from the risk.

The period seems to be well captured, and the action is unflagging. I look forward with pleasure to the next adventures of Dr. Parks.