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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,355 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Against the backdrop of sparsely settled western Nebraska at the turn of the 20th century, Mattie tells the story of a pioneer woman physician. Through the years of her practice, Mattie's life is filled with romance and disappointments, battles won and loved ones lost, challenges met and opportunities passed. Through it all she endures. And as the years pass, her life take ...more
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1988)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,355 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Nice story

This is an enjoyable story of a girl who grows up in the late 19th century, and overcomes time-bound obstacles to create a meaningful life during a time when women's roles were more rigid and less friendly. There are some interesting historical references, particularly to homesteading the plains, but it reads more like a memoir.

Toward the end of the book there was a reference that I didn't think was historically accurate, so I looked into it, and verified that it was not correct. This
Darlene Williams
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Resounding, earthy story

Every once in a while an author makes you feel as if you are living in their story world. Judy Alter accomplished this and more. This gritty tale of a lady pioneer doctor in Missouri has all the elements of a great novel: real life characters with real life emotions, needs, attributes and flaws; setting; pacing; conflict; and, above all, a story to care about. A definite must-read.
Lorena Helfers
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Disappointing to me

I read this book because I thought it was about early trials of being a doctor. It was too simplistic. At times I thought I was reading a middle school level of writing. Ugh....I have read too many good doctor type books to enjoy this one.
Jane Mettee
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an enjoyable fictional story about a young girl growing up in the 1800s, without her parents. She is able, with help from a benefactor, to get into medical school when women were not usually allowed. She ends up practicing rural medicine on the plains of Nebraska. This is a good book for mature junior high school girls on to adults who want a light story to escape to. The author did a good job developing characters and demonstrating the gradual decline in a marriage.
I read a similar but
Emily Moore
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved the story. I could relate to many of her feelings and concerns as she struggled with raising her family and succeeding within her career.
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
An easy read about the life of a woman doctor in pioneer Nebraska. I enjoyed reading this tale of Mattie's establishing herself and her practice in such an outback of the west. I did hope there would be more about the rigors of being a woman doctor in such a harsh environment and not so much about her personal life, but I did enjoy this novel.
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well written

Simple and realistic. Mattie doesn't follow the traditional cookbook formula of life in the new old west, rather the characters are surprisingly complex for such a story. I enjoyed it.
Tiffany J
Nov 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the story line, but the writing was amateurish at times. A little distracting but it kept my interest non the less.
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be very interesting.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent solid five star book. I love historical fiction about the early west, and this one is a winner. We follow Mattie as she is a little girl in the mid 1800's whose mother is of "dubious background" as she has two children and nobody knows who their two fathers might be. Mattie is bullied, and hates her station in life. As we follow Mattie as she grows older, she is given a chance to be the first female to attend the Omaha Medical School which she does, graduating at the top of her class. ...more
Shelly Dabbs
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had read the book Libbie by Judy & being from the area that some of the story was set, I really enjoyed it. I wanted to read something else of hers to see how she did in a different setting. I enjoyed reading Mattie. It showed what a determined woman can do even if she comes from a past she would like to forget. She overcame many things in her life to become a woman doctor & invested her time & money into a sanitarium that would help others. She made some bad decision about relatio ...more
Mary Prigioni
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought I knew all about Nebraska

She opened my eyes about a lot of things. I gained a new perspective about the women who helped settle the west: how strong they were, the way they worked, the boredom they experienced, the love they had for family. I want to read another one of her books right away.
Teresa Radoslovich
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing Woman

This book was about a woman who was at
strong, smart, go-getter! I enjoyed the journey she took from her childhood to her becoming a woman. The writer detailed this woman as who wanted to help people even from a young age! A woman doctor was not heard of, but she did and became a well respected one. Awesome book and highly recommended.
Pamela Schneider
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to remind us of the selfless acts of women during the early years in Nebraska. I grew up in that great state, and the historical aspects of this book were brought to life in the writing of this book.
Gene Brown
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once great read about life and living.

Pleased to be able to review this refreshing book about a simple life with the same problems we experience in today's society. A must-read for all.
Lois Sullivan
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well written

I really enjoyed reading this book. Would have liked more detail about the daily lives of the people of that period in history.
Brenda Roberson
Apr 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Mattie Armstrong is a plain, determined and intelligent girl laboring under the two disdvantages of poverty and illegitimacy. She becomes the protege of the local doctor and when her mother and brother move West she remains behind. She becomes a resident in the doctor's household as a companion to his young daughter and a nurse to his wife who has a serious mental disorder. On the death of his wife the doctor proposes marriage but Mattie refuses and then travels West to take up a post as the one ...more
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hardships in families in the 1800's were just as hard as some people have it today. The mother of Mattie had two children and no father to help her with them. However the mother did find someone to fall in love with and get married. The new father wanted to move to Nebraska but Mattie had found a job taking care of a doctor's little girl. Mattie at this time was 14 years old. Mattie stayed with the doctor to finish school and he sent her to medical school and she became the first woman doctor in ...more
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
This is the story of Mattie, a pioneer woman self-proclaimed physician from Nebraska at the turn of the 20th century. Thinking she's tougher than she really is, Mattie leaves her family and ventures out west in search of a childhood friend who she believes is her true love. What she finds instead is hardship, heartache and frustration. Although she perseveres, she creates and then perpetuates a life that is rich and full.

This book was okay. A little too neatly packaged and predictable for my tas
Joyce Wicks
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very good

I enjoyed this book, especially watching her meet the challenges of becoming a physician in a period when being a woman and a doctor were frowned upon. I hoped that she would find true happiness
, a good husband and children and a fulfilling career. A lot of books I've read have romantic happy endings. I like those endings. However, this story turned out to be a bit more like real life, but even though her life wasn't perfect, it was a fulfilling and satisfying ending. The only thing th
Janet Ollman Blackmer
Though I loved the storyline (because I could easily have been a frontier doctor and Mattie's life has some similarity to mine), I thought that the author left too many wide gaps. I would have preferred a much longer book, if necessary to have more continuity of the story. Our author started a thought, then quickly abandoned it. The story jumped around too much for my taste. I would have recommended it highly were it not for the fact that it isn't complete. I love stories of strong women, becaus ...more
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Again I'm amazed!

Once more as I reach the end of a story of the frontier I am amazed to find myself let down that it's ended. I've got to find myself another brilliant book that lets me live in that exciting time....lets me ride across the open range....feel the rock of the covered wagons or even lets me feel the wind on my face as the mighty steam engines roar out west. Judy Alter accomplished this with her opening lines to her finals one in Mattie! Hats off to this wonderful author!
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Heroin of yesteryear

Mattie was truly a woman born before her time. Such courage she showed in a life full of hardships no making of her own. She was an intelligent woman who made great decisions with the exception of the most important one of her life. You will cheer for her through bad times, despise those who are against her. And applaud those who get there just due. Mattie is a great read with endearing characters whom you will remember for a long time to come. Enjoy the read.
J Lipoti
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Can picture the prairie

There is so much responsibility that comes with being the first woman to do anything that happiness is often illusory. But this book points out the beauty in knowing yourself, being self sufficient, and giving back to the community. Leaving a legacy as a medical doctor includes not only treating patients, but inspiring others to the profession and building a facility that can meet the needs of a growing comments. Beautifully written story. Gorgeous setting.
Tammy  Roberson
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
1st female doctor in Nebraska

Story of the life of the first female physician in Nebraska. From her early days as the daughter of an unwed mother, with little resources, Mattie had to struggle for what she got. She separated from fer mother and brother to gain an education, then went on to be the first female to enter medical school in Omaha. This begins another set of struggles for Mattie.
I enjoyed the book, but the sections of her life are told in chunks, and seems rather choppy. I wish it coul
Virtually deserted by her mother, Mattie finds her way into the home of an influential doctor, hired to take care of his daughter. She learns about life and medicine in that home and eventually goes off on her own to practice medicine on the Nebraska plains. Her story unfolds around the hardship and the joy she finds in her life ...and if this was a biography, what a remarkable woman she would be.
Melinda Lang
A fast, easy read, Mattie is about a woman doctor in the frontier days facing the many challenges facing her: namely her gender, the environment in which she lived and her struggle out of poverty in the prairies of Western Nebraska. While, I liked the book, there was nothing special about the story itself or the characters. I would have like to have learned some history or some other tidbits of that time period from the book, but can't say that I did.
Kathie Dillon
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mattie Armstrong was a strong independent woman

I enjoyed this story and it read easily. Mattie overcame a difficult childhood, a poorly chosen marriage which produced a daughter she never related to and other problems a lady doctor on the prairie faced. But she stayed true to her goals became a successful doctor.
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read. Had to admire the drive of this strong woman. Early in the book I had to re-read the description of the book because the author wrote it in such a way that it could very easily be viewed as non-fiction. Some reviews I read felt the story was a mile wide and an inch deep as well as slow moving. I did not feel this was the case.
Mattie follows the life of a young girl living in poverty who believes in her dreams for a better life regardless of her circumstances. She becomes the first female doctor in Nebraska. Engaging and quick read. I know I’ve said this before, but I love books about strong women. This book is the epitome of the America Dream.
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A novelist and author of books for both adults and young readers, Judy Alter is the author of seventitles in the Kelly O'Connell Mysteries, three in the Blue Plate Café Mysteries, and two Oak Grove Mysteries. Her mysteries are all set in Texas. She has also written frequently about women and girls of the American West, and many of those books are available as ebooks. Her Web page is http://www.jud ...more
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