The Doctor’s Lady

Written by Jody Hedlund
Review by Michael DiSchiavi

Priscilla White, a young woman from a respectable family in Angelica, New York, in the year 1836, knows that God has called her to be a missionary. Having forsaken marriage as a possibility due to her infertility, she has dedicated herself to the Lord’s service, planning to teach the “savages” in India. Eli Ernest is a doctor dedicated to bringing Christ’s healing to the “savages” in the West. He does not wish the burden of marriage and family life. Since neither party is permitted to begin missionary service while single, Eli proposes and Priscilla accepts an unconventional marriage, a “working partnership,” without any “romantic complications.” The fate of this half-baked arrangement is obvious from chapter three.

Like her first novel, The Preacher’s Bride, Hedlund provides interesting characters, including a strong heroine and a mostly compelling narrative. However, the overwhelming parallels between the novels give me pause. One does tire so easily of formulaic writing; it would be a pity to see such an obviously talented writer fall victim to it. Nonetheless, the book is recommended despite reservations.