Book Reviews

All She Left Behind: Review by Susan Scott Ferrell


All She Left Behind – Dr. Quinn with Grit

Yep. I’m at it again. I’ve strayed from my Amish-genre fixation and read another non-Amish <gasp!> novel. My latest finding is the Christian historical fiction novel All She Left Behind by Jane Kirkpatrick. Question is: Can a non-Amish novel at over 350 pages hold my interest? Yes, for the most part. It’s quite a read.

All She Left Behind follows the life of Jennie Pickett, an 1870s wife and mother doing her best to thrive in the Oregon frontier. She’s always considered herself a healer of sorts (using herbals, etc.), but she longs to be a doctor. A female doctor…in Oregon…in the 1870s? Perhaps. But her obstacles are huge: a difficult marriage, a learning disability, and the credibility with her community.

I was given All She Left Behind in exchange for my honest review. It was an interesting read. The first half of the book really went at a fast clip and I was thoroughly invested in the storylines. However, in the second half, it felt like a bunch of information – more like a timeline. Since the novel is based on a true story, I can understand the author wanting to get several facts in about the amazing life of Jennie Pickett. I just wish it had flowed better – and perhaps winnowed down a bit. That being said, it was intriguing to read of the struggles of a pioneer woman who was decades before her time. It reminded me of the television show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, but more truthful and more grit.

Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!

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