All She Left Behind By Jane Kirkpatrick

Happy dance!!! A new book by Jane Kirkpatrick always excites me! Not only is she an incredible author but I love that her books are based on true stories. The real life women she chooses are so varied and interesting!
Jennie Lichtenthaler’s story is proof that your circumstances and education have nothing to do with your ability to succeed! She was one of the first female doctors in the state of Oregon. That in itself is an amazing achievement considering women doctors in the 1800’s were shunned and not accepted. As I read her story, her success became extraordinary! Since her childhood her interest in herbs, medicine and natural healing had been a driving force. Not only to learn but to heal others. She never gives up her dream to become a doctor even in the face of insurmountable odds. Jennie’s family and husband drag her confidence even lower with the criticism and treatment of her. Married at a young age to an abusive alcoholic and drug addict her life held few opportunities. She has a learning disability, though the story never really says what it is. It makes reading and retaining written material difficult. Her son suffers the mental effects of the father’s addictions and is challenging to handle.
After her first husband divorces here which left her in poverty and social shame during that time, it opens the door to meet the love of her life, her second husband Josiah Parrish. He was a wealthy, influential minister. He had children that were grown and grandchildren so he was many year older than her. The vast difference in age had no bearing on the depth of their love and devotion. Each brought the other much joy and fulfillment. His love and belief in her led her to accomplish her dream and become a doctor.
As usual Ms. Kirkpatrick does an in-depth historical research, she leaves no stone unturned about her characters. I admired Jennie’s strength and faith in all the sufferings she was dealt. No matter what was thrown at her or how her heart broke, she kept moving forward, doing what needed to be done to survive. She never gave into self-pity or bitterness. Her loving attitude and sweet spirit was not affected by abuse or adversity. An extraordinary book!

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