All She Left Behind (2017) is a stand-alone novel masterfully written by Jane Kirkpatrick. This novel was just released on September 5, 2017. This novel comes in all forms including eBook, and is 343 pages in length. With a full-time job and a busy five-year old, this novel took me two days to read. I received a free copy of this novel directly from the publisher, Revell of the Baker Publishing Group. In no way has this influenced my opinions of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are mine. I give this novel 5+ STARS. This novel is a Christian Historical Fiction based on authentic historical people and events.
About the Book
Jennie Pickett is a natural healer, but her dreams to become a doctor in 1870s Oregon put her at odds with the world around her. As she struggles to keep her dream alive, she finds that the road to fulfillment winds past love, heartache, and plenty of surprises along the way.
The main character in this novel is Jennie Lichtenthaler, one of Oregon’s first female doctors. Jennie’s story is so engaging I read 3/4 of the book in one sitting! From a small girl, Jennie has always been fascinated with herbs and medicinals prepared naturally. She loves healing others, and does dream of becoming a doctor one day. But, a lack of confidence and some seriously upsetting moments put that dream on hold for Jennie.
Jennie’s life was really hard. Her first marriage was a disaster due to her husband’s alcohol and drug addiction. Jennie also lost one child at birth, which completely devastated her. Some of the events described in this book are so heart-wrenching I wanted so desperately to reach into the novel and give Jennie a comforting hug. I would love to expound on Jennie’s first marriage, some of the things she endures are beyond bearable, but I don’t want to ruin one single page of this novel. Jane Kirkpatrick does a fantastic job of putting her readers directly into the time period. The arrogance of men and the way many of them treated women as less than second class citizens was really hard to read. Every insult Jennie had hurled at her, I felt deeply.
But, Jennie does have a fantastic love story as well. Her second husband, Josiah Parrish, was the love of her life, and treated her so well. He is so beautifully written in this novel — he may well be my top fictional hero. The relationship between Josiah and Jennie gave me hope as I read this novel that good people, loving people really do exist in this hard world.
This novel does discuss alcohol and drug addiction at great length. Jennie was tremendously affected by the abuse of such substances. In fact, it is one of the driving forces that help her determine her course of studies in the medical field. Alcohol and drug abuse is a terrible sickness. It ruins not just the lives of those addicted, but the lives of family members who truly want to help but are completely helpless to do so. I felt this novel touched on these topics with grace, authenticity, and truth. It is frustrating and traumatic to take second (or third or fourth) place in the hearts of loved ones choosing harmful substances over you and your love. It’s a terrible thing to watch a loved one succumb to the depravity of drug and/or alcohol abuse, and the other sins that typically go along with these abuses. And, the grief and guilt you feel when you finally let go of these loved ones is almost indescribable. But, as is subtly illustrated in the novel, give it all to God. Give God the pain and the grief and the guilt and the loss of the loved one. He is the only One who can truly heal!
All She Left Behind is one of the best books of 2017. It is exquisitely written! My goodness did God bless Jane Kirkpatrick with a phenomenal writing talent. I highly, highly recommend this novel. Check out my giveaway for details on how you can enter to win not just this novel, but The Memory Weaver as well.