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The Doctor's Lady (Hearts of Faith)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  2,551 Ratings  ·  256 Reviews
Historical Romance from the author of The Preacher's Bride

Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board:
Paperback, 378 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Bethany House Publishers
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Paula Shreckhise I just read Luther and Katherina. It was wonderful and well researched. You will not be disappointed ! It is a little gritty but the times were hard.
I just read Luther and Katherina. It was wonderful and well researched. You will not be disappointed ! It is a little gritty but the times were hard.
It really flows. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 09, 2011 Christy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
As a rule, I'm not overly fond of wagon train stories, but I could not read this one fast enough! It's not often that I have an opportunity to practically fly through a book as good as this one, but in 24 hours time, I read this book every moment I could spare. Thankfully, my husband was very understanding as we went through an evening with me cooking no dinner, folding no laundry, and watching no tv. And yes...he survived. ;o)

Jody Hedlund has created a masterpiece in The Doctor's Lady. She had
Nov 30, 2011 Michelle rated it it was amazing
When I received the opportunity to read this novel, I jumped at the chance! I had read so many wonderful things about Jody Hedlund's writing, that I knew I couldn't pass it up. Within just a few pages, I knew that all of the 5 star reviews were right -- The Doctor's Lady is a story not to be missed! And as the old saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover, well with this one you can. The cover is one of the most gorgeous I've seen, and the story inside the cover is just as captivating; ...more
Jul 18, 2015 Staci rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I love the history behind this novel. Based upon the author's note at the end of the novel, many of the details were taken from the pioneers that made the journey to Oregon so many years ago.

The storyline of Eli and Priscilla was o.k., but it was the journey itself that kept the pages turning.

I'm a huge fan of Jody Hedlund. The Doctor's Lady is not at the top of my list, but a good read.
Shannah Mauney
This was one of the most gripping, heartfelt stories I have read in a long time. Jody Hedlund brings the characters and the trials and tribulations they face along their journey to life. I felt like I was traveling with them. The story was well-written and beautifully captured Eli and Priscilla's story.
Sep 26, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Review first posted on my blog, Legacy of a Writer.

It’s not often I read a historical fiction that so enthralled me, I could not stop reading, but that's what I discovered in this book. The Doctor’s Lady has officially been dubbed my favorite historical of the year! Gripping me in a way that few books but suspense/thrillers do, I was pulled into the characters’ lives. Even after I finished the book, I was still so wrapped up in Priscilla and Eli’s world!

Both Priscilla White and Eli Ernest are me
Rachelle Cobb
Dec 27, 2011 Rachelle Cobb rated it really liked it

Though the beginning started out slowly, the tension gradually builds to an adventure-and-action-packed plot in The Doctor's Lady. I read this book in less than twenty-four hours, drawn in by the development of the characters and details of what the trip West was like for the first female to cross the Continental Divide.

I enjoyed how Priscilla and Eli interacted with one another. They learned to trust one another achingly slowly, which at times made me want to shout, "Just tell her what you're t
Jeannette Garcia
May 15, 2013 Jeannette Garcia rated it it was amazing
This is the second book I've read by Jody Hedlund. Such an incredible story of the rough journey of Narcissa and Marcus Whitman. What I love so much about Jody's stories is her creative portrayal of real people and their struggles. My heart was so sensitive for each person in this book the entire time that I read it... especially for Priscilla. Being barren and having to endure children and pregnant women would be something I wouldn't be able to handle. It broke my heart when the one thing she ...more
A heartwarming story about frontier courage based upon the first woman to cross over the Continental Divide to become a missionary to the Nez Perce during the 1830's. Often dramatic but then there was a lot of drama in traversing virgin lands in the newly charted American west. The romantic portion of the story was very entertaining and sweet, a worthwhile read.
Katherine Coble
Sep 12, 2011 Katherine Coble rated it liked it
It was well-done in parts, but after awhile all the pent-up longing and smoldering glances got a little bit old.

I know that conflict provides the heart of a novel, but so much of the conflict here amounted to bickering between the protagonists.

Still and all it was a compelling enough story to keep me reading through the preacheriness.

Two things cost this book a fourth star in my mind.

1. Why do all these women have to be so beeyooteeful? Is it not possible to have a heroine who is mildly pret
Sep 11, 2011 Casey rated it it was amazing
I was swept away. In the tide of a love discovered after a marriage. In an adventure filled with the thrills of the trail. Swept away in a novel filled with everything I love in really good fiction.

Jody Hedlund is a new name in today’s fiction, but one I firmly believe will not be leaving us any time soon. I certainly hope to never see that day! Hedlund crafts a story that stirred my heart and emotions with the expert wielding of her deft writing hand.

Priscilla and Eli are characters you just
Sep 16, 2011 Joy rated it it was amazing
There is just something soooo romantic about marrying a complete stranger only to fall in love with him later-

Yeah...I guess when you type it out like that it doesn't sound very appealing. But in Christian fiction, the marriage of convenience story line is one of my favs and The Doctor's Lady rocks this plot device.

In order to pursue careers in missions, Eli and Priscilla need to find spouses. Since neither of them is interested in getting married, they decide to be disinterested together, thu
Katie Ganshert
Aug 22, 2011 Katie Ganshert rated it it was amazing
WARNING! This book will make you into a liar. I kept promising that once I got to such-and-such chapter, I'd put it down, but every time I got to that chapter, I had to keep reading to see what would happen! I stayed up way past my bedtime and finished in less than two days.

If you enjoyed The Preacher's Bride, then this one will not disappoint! The romance is swoon-worthy, the plot is fast-paced and gripping, and the characters are incredibly likable. Can't wait for more from Jody Hedlund!
Apr 13, 2015 Christy rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Emilee you were right; this is an exceptional book. Priscilla and Mabel and most certainly the tremendous Eli kept me reading long into the evening. There was never a dull or slow moment in this book. I embarked on a journey with these characters and I'm fortunate to have learned so much about love, faith and fortitude.
Jody Hedlund in a fairly new author but I must say she has got to be one of my favorite new authors I’ve been introduced to this year!! Her books are amazing and The Doctor’s Lady is no exception!! In fact, The Doctor’s Lady has just made my favorite Christian Historical book of 2011!!

Priscilla is a young lady who feels God is calling her to the mission field but is heart broken when the Board of Missions refuses to send her on a mission unless she is married. In steps Eli, Eli is young doctor w
Jill Kemerer
Aug 25, 2011 Jill Kemerer rated it it was amazing
From the stunning cover and the engaging opening, all the way through to the emotional ending, I adored The Doctor's Lady.

Eli Ernest, will stop at nothing to return to Oregon and start a mission for the Nez Perce Indians, including getting married and doing the unthinkable--journeying out west with a woman. Priscilla White burns with fervor to teach the gospel in India and, for personal reasons, leave the nest of her hometown, but unless she's married, she can't do mission work. An unlikely marr
Erika Robuck
Sep 19, 2011 Erika Robuck rated it it was amazing
The novel begins in 1836 in Angelica, New York, where Priscilla White, an unmarried woman with a wish to be a Christian missionary in India, waits to find out her assignment. Her life takes an unexpected turn, however, when Dr. Eli Ernest, a single man in need of a wife in order to accept the sponsorship of the Mission Board for his own mission into the West, makes her a business proposal. If she will agree to marry him, on paper alone, they will get the approval of the Board, and each will be ...more
Oct 04, 2011 TinaB rated it really liked it
This was a well researched and compelling take on the story of the first white woman who crossed the Continental Divide, based on a true story- Hedlund adds dramatic flair and her own twists to what must of been a terrifying and harrowing journey. She also takes the cheese out of convenience marriage stories and riddles it with stolen glances, passionate thoughts and simple progression. Towards the end of the story there was so much tension and sexual attraction going on that I wanted to jump in ...more
My Lady
Nov 03, 2015 My Lady rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Christian historic romance, particularly prairie fiction and wagon train fiction
For a much more complete review, please visit my blog, Bookshelves and Daydreams.

From the moment I started this book, I was pretty much hooked. But I couldn't quite put my finger on why. I think I had a niggling suspicion lurking somewhere that I knew this story. After all, Jody Hedlund is prone to using real people to inspire her fictional characters. My guess was right. The Doctor's Lady is inspired by the real life missionaries, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. I've visited the Whitman mission, h
Mary Louise Sanchez
Oct 23, 2011 Mary Louise Sanchez rated it it was amazing
Priscilla White has applied to serve the Lord and save the lost people in India where there are established missions. She also wants to leave the country so as to escape the questions people will ask her about why she can't marry or have children. She never considered being a missionary to the Indians in the west,like Dr. Eli Ernest, who is visiting the community to raise funds for the mission he wants to build in Oregon Territory to serve the Nez Perce Indians. Then the Mission board sends ...more
Dec 17, 2012 Janelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was tickled to read this book was loosely based on the travels of the the Whitman's, a married missionary couple heading west in 1836. The route they took would later become the Oregon Trail. The historical portrayal was very interesting but the authors fictional spin was great!

My first Jody Hedlund book...but not the last.
Sep 21, 2013 SheLove2Read rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, best-of-2012
Jody Hedlund is a new-to-me author but one I think I'll most definitely read again. It's not often I can read a book where the major themes are pride, humility, racism and trust, and come away feeling like I've been on a grand adventure that I didn't want to end.

The year is 1836. Priscilla White feels called to the mission field in far away India. Having suffered a severe case of the mumps as a young teen, she's now unable to bear children and feels like she will never be a wife or mother. Dr.
Jul 31, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it
You know there's two constants with Jody Hedlund books: The history is going to be good, and you are not going to want to put the book down. You just have to know what happens next!

"The Doctor's Lady" is based on the events of real-life missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman in 1836. In the novel their names have been changed to Eli and Priscilla, and both of them had a heart for missions but neither was allowed by their mission board to go into the field without being married. So in February
Bluerose's  Heart
Oct 31, 2011 Bluerose's Heart rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, romance
4.5 stars

I was drawn to The Doctor's Lady for the Native American aspect of it. It's based upon the lives of Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding, the first white women to cross the Continental Divide and travel to the far west, and their husbands. In 1836, they traveled to Oregon to start a mission with the Nez Perce natives. The story is a mix between fact and fiction. Some of the plot was taken right from the journals of Narcissa(with a fictional addition, of course). That makes the book even
Jan 03, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
Ever since I read The Little House on the Prairie as a child, I have enjoyed stories of men and women who have braved the Western untouched territories of North America. The Doctor's Lady is about such pioneers whose mission was to bring the Christian faith to the American Indians.

Priscilla White wanted to be a missionary in India but the Missionary Board stated she needed to be married. This upset Priscilla who had no intention of marrying until she met Dr. Eli Ernest, a missionary who'd return
Feb 02, 2013 LeeAnn rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian
I was looking forward to going west on what would become the Oregon trail, as the first white woman. In 1836, no white woman had traveled that far, and the name Oregon trail wasn't even birthed yet. At that time, it was missionary law that a married couple must make the journey together to prevent the intermixing of white man with the Indian woman, or heathens, as they were called since they had not been exposed to the gospel, and were therefore living uncivilized. So, Eli and Priscilla entered ...more
Oct 05, 2013 Barbie rated it it was amazing
I eagerly awaited the delivery of The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund. I had immensely enjoyed her debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, and hoped that this second offering would be exceptional as well. I was not disappointed.

The Doctor’s Lady is the fictionalized story of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman (Eli and Priscilla Ernest in the novel). Narcissa, along with her husband and traveling partners Henry and Eliza (Mabel) Spalding, was the first white woman to endure the overland crossing to Oregon.

Sep 22, 2014 Clarissa rated it it was amazing
Jody Hedlund does it again with her memorable characters and thoroughly researched, historically inspired storyline. With its beautiful descriptions, rich landscapes and swoon-worthy romance, The Doctor's lady will hold you captive and keep you guessing until the very last chapter.

This story encompasses the lives of Priscilla White and Dr. Elijah Ernest, who both have a burning passion to be in the mission field and to share the love of Christ with its native people. Priscilla's fiery spirit and
Jul 07, 2012 Tammi rated it it was amazing
The Doctor’s Lady is the first novel by Judy Hedlund that I have read, and it certainly will not be the last. Her writing draws the reader into the story and her descriptions allow the reader to picture the scenes with each turn of the page.

I immediately fell in love with Priscilla and Eli, and I felt that I already knew Eli, and in fact, I did! Eli’s character is based on Marcus Whitman, and I had met him in a story I read to my children about the first wagon train to travel the Oregon Trail. (
Keli Gwyn
Aug 16, 2011 Keli Gwyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Jody Hedlund’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, captivated readers and left them wanting more of her page-turning stories. They’re sure to be satisfied with The Doctor’s Lady because she’s crafted another gripping tale, one that takes her characters—and her readers—on a journey fraught with hardships and heartache. When Eli Ernest and Priscilla White learn that they must wed in order to fulfill their dreams of serving the Lord as missionaries, they agree to a marriage in name only. They embark ...more
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Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real lif
More about Jody Hedlund...

Other Books in the Series

Hearts of Faith (3 books)
  • The Preacher's Bride
  • Rebellious Heart

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“God doesn’t expect us to be perfect women or perfect missionaries. Rather, He wants us to learn to lean upon Him more, to let Him be our help during those stormy blasts.” 1 likes
“is there ever anything safe about serving the Lord with one’s whole heart?” 1 likes
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