Jane Kirkpatrick is a bestselling author who is renowned for selecting inspirational women from history and weaving a story around the factual details of their lives. Her newest novel from Revell, “All She Left Behind”, follows this pattern as she shares the story of Jennie Pickett, a women who lives on the Oregon frontier of the 1870s and longs to become a healer. . . Or more specifically, a doctor.
“All She Left Behind” is the story of a woman who follows her dreams despite an often painful cost. It is also a tale of regrets, alcoholism and drug addictions, and broken families. Of course hope, joy, and love are woven into the threads of the story as well, but it is certainly not the best choice if you are looking for an uplifting or cheerful story. The characters within the novel (who are identified in the front of the book as being historically real or not) take time to warm up to, and there always seems to be a slight barrier between reader and characters. I’m not sure if this is the author’s intention or simply her writing style, but it detracted from my enjoyment of the story.
Overall, “All She Left Behind” was, for me, a moderately enjoyable Historical novel. As I mentioned before, I never stepped right into the story or became friends with the characters as I often do with my favorite novels, but perhaps this technique of keeping the reader a little “set apart” lends some authenticity to the true story. If you enjoy novels based on real historical accounts, you will likely enjoy this story immensely. But if, like me, it is more important that the characters and story resonate with you as a reader, you will likely find that “All She Left Behind” falls rather flat in this department.
I received this book courtesy of Revell Publishing, in participation with a Revell Reads Blog Tour. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.