Okay, like I said-- I requested to review The Doctor's Lady for Bethany House strictly on the principle that Jody Hedlund's first book (The Preacher's Bride) was so well-written. I also made the point to read the "Author's Note" at the end of the book first-- so I would know beforehand whose lives the book was based upon.
The answers to this question is: Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, the first white missionary couple to travel and serve as witness to the Washington/Oregon area in 1836. Knowing this, and specifically that there were a few scenes taken straight out of Narcissa Whitman's journal, was nice to know before reading the book. When I came to those scenes in the book, they meant more to me.
There was nothing I didn't like about this book. It had everything. Well-developed characters, believable emotional conflict... and lots of tension. And of course, being written by Jody Hedlund, it was incredibly well-written. I love the fact that Eli Ernest and Priscilla White were encouraged to get married simply so they would both be able to minister to the unreached people-groups on the other side of the country. This is actually something I've always wanted to write a book about--and is part of the plot of my third book. I think that was one reason I was so excited to read this book. :)
I'm looking forward to meeting Jody Hedlund at the ACFW Great Lakes Chapter Writing Conference in Jackson, MI on November 19th. It's just a small one day conference, but I am really looking forward to going.
I give The Doctor's Lady 5 STARS. It was truly one of the best historical romances I've read all year.