Do you remember the story of Narcissa and Marcus Whitman, missionaries who traveled from New York to Walla Walla, Washington, to establish a mission for the Nez Perce? I do--but then, I grew up in Idaho where the Spaldings (the Whitmans' traveling companions) and the Whitmans were considered first-rate historical heros and heroines.
The Doctor's Lady is a fictional account of the Whitman’s journey. In this book, however, the names of the Whitmans have been changed to Eli and Priscilla Ernest. Although it's fiction, many of the incidents that happened to Eli and Priscilla actually happened to the Whitmans.
Priscilla White is bent on becoming a missionary to India, romantic notions of saving the heathens dancing through her head. Eli Ernest’s head wasn’t filled with romantic notions, he just wanted to return with the two Nez Perce boys to the Oregon Territory and establish the mission they wanted, but to do that he needed the support of the church. The Board of Missions threw them both a curve when they insisted that missionaries must be married.
Throw in the additional problem that Priscilla had no intention of marrying—she’d been rendered sterile by a bout with the mumps, and it wouldn’t be fair to marry a man when she knew she would not be able to produce any offspring for him.
Eli didn’t want to marry, either. He knew the dangers of the trail between New York and Fort Walla Walla. Not just the physical difficulty of the trail, but also danger from unfriendly Indian tribes and the fur traders. The fur traders didn’t want to be saddled with a woman, let alone two, to guide them across the country. Not even one as pretty as Priscilla.
Over their stout objections, Eli and Priscilla are pressured into marrying, but they find themselves shaking hands over an agreement they make. They will have a marriage in name only. God has a better idea, though. This wouldn’t be a historical romance if they didn’t fall in love with each other, and they do—but neither one will admit it. What will it take to get them to let go of their pride? The only way you will find out is to read the book.
If you click on the picture of the book, it should take you to Ms. Hedland's website. If it doesn't, type in www.jodyhedlund.com into your browser, and there you'll find the opportunity to buy her books.
PS – You won’t be sorry, I promise.