Okay, I have had it up to here with bloody heroes who judge all present women by ones in the past. Which means I found Mr. Zeb Garrison too hard to swallow and like. Add to that some odd anachronisms and inaccuracies, and what’s left is a book I can’t really recommend.
All Nora Mitchell wants is to be a doctor. Having been rejected 22 times because of her gender, she decides to leave out that insignificant fact when she applies for the post of physician for the town of High Plains. The town’s founder, Zeb Garrison, hires Dr. N. Mitchell on the basis of her astounding qualifications, but throws a hissy fit when she arrives.
See, poor Zeb is suffering under all kinds of burdens. He co-founded High Plains when he built a sawmill there, and he feels obligated to provide for the townspeople who followed him en masse out west like he was some industrial Joseph Smith. But in addition, a tornado just hit their part of Kansas, wreaking destruction, injury, and death. The previous physician died not long after the tornado, and Zeb needs a town doctor badly. However, he just can’t get past the fact that Doc Mitchell a woman.
This stems from wounds left by his ex-fiancee. She, naturally, wanted some kind of career and left him in the dust, so all moderately ambitious women are untrustworthy and just want money. Not to mention that a woman can’t possibly do the job properly. The latter, given the time and place, makes perfect sense. The rest does not, and the tantrums Zeb throws are totally beyond reason.
There is also an irritating amount of anachronistic psychobabble, mostly perpetrated by Nora. The words psychology and psychiatry did exist back then, but Dr. Mitchell sounds more like Oprah in her talk of problems stemming psychologically. And that’s not right.
On the other hand, there’s a lot to like in the book. The ensemble is a bit typecast but acceptably interesting, and the conflicts are believable. Also on the plus side, Nora is spirited, genuinely caring, and altogether not a bad chick, although she sometimes comes too close to perfect for comfort. When Zeb finally gets over himself, his romance with Nora is touching. And for those who might worry, the inspirational elements are handled lightly.
There are too many faults to merit a full recommendation. But the silver lining is the book was my first inspirational romance, and none of the faults lie therein. I’ll keep my mind open.