I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.All She Left Behind by Jane Kirkpatrick
Published by Revell on September 5th 2017
Genres: Christian, Fiction, Historical
Already well-versed in the natural healing properties of herbs and oils, Jennie Pickett longs to become a doctor. But the Oregon frontier of the 1870s doesn't approve of such innovations as women attending medical school. To leave grief and guilt behind, as well as support herself and her challenging young son, Jennie cares for an elderly woman using skills she's developed on her own. When her patient dies, Jennie discovers that her heart has become entangled with the woman's widowed husband, a man many years her senior. Their unlikely romance may lead her to her ultimate goal--but the road will be winding and the way forward will not always be clear. Will Jennie find shelter in life's storms? Will she discover where healing truly lives?
Through her award-winning, layered storytelling, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick invites readers to leave behind their preconceived notions about love and life as they, along with Jennie, discover that dreams may be deferred--but they never really die. Based on a true story.
This book was not at all what I expected. The synopsis did not set me up for the book that I read. Before I get into that though there’s a couple of warnings I need to throw out here. This book is based on a real person. It is a work of fiction but we all know that there is always a nugget of truth even in pure fiction. While based on a real person and a lot of research was put into her there is not a play by play account of Jennie’s life. Much can be ascertained from historical records and those ideas are used to create this book. That being said there is mention of spousal abuse. There is mention of alcoholism and drug abuse. These are things that may be offensive to some Christian readers as well as triggering to other readers. I do not in any way think that they negatively impact this book but I also know that different readers have different experiences.
This book is the story of Jane E “Jennie” Lichtenthaler Pickett Parrish. The life she lived, the people she loved, the struggles she overcame, the trails she blazed, the heartaches she endured. It’s about more than Jennie though, in my opinion. Yes, Jennie left a lot behind. A thriving medical practice, a family, unfinished business. But Elizabeth is the story that spoke to me the most. What she left behind created where this story led. Without Elizabeth there would have been no trails for Jennie to blaze. There would have been no family for her to love. No one would have cared all these years later about the life she lived. Elizabeth Parrish paved the way for Jennie. She had no idea that would be her outcome but sometimes the best way, right? The prologue did not enhance the story in any way and while I drew a few inferences to things that happened it was never returned to nor incorporated into the story in any meaningful way.
This story drew me into these characters that were filled with depth and personality. They filled the pages with a story that never caved under. I realize this is easier to do when it’s based on real people and real accounts of history. It’s also harder to do to keep it engaging and accurate. The writing style was engaging and I never felt a lag or lull even when there was little action and more narrator and storytelling. I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes a nugget of truth with their fiction. I’d recommend this story to anyone with an interest in history and even human behavior. While steeped in faith it’s not over the top or even jumping off the pages making it a great book for even a secular reader.