The Doctor’s Lady starts out in New York and involves a man who can’t go to Oregon as a missionary by himself without being married, and a young woman who wanted to go to India as a missionary, but was told she needed to be married first. She is infertile and doesn’t think anyone will ever want to marry her, so she has determined never to marry. However, the man really wants to go west, so he convinces Priscilla to marry him as a business proposition. The agreement is that they marry and he will do his best to protect her along the way, but if she doesn’t like it, or it is too dangerous, he will send her back to her parents’ home and they will have an annulment. This way, they both get to be missionaries, and they fulfill the mission board’s requirements.
Of course during the trip, they start to really care for each other, and he discovers that he doesn’t want her to go back east. She discovers that she is glad she didn’t go to India, but came with him. He is a doctor, and the Nez Pierce that they are planning to work with could really use help with medical attention. There are many adventures along the way, where Priscilla almost dies and he is able to save her.
This is actually based on a real story. There really was a couple who barely knew each other and travelled across what was to become the Oregon Trail. She, and her companion were the first women to cross the Continental Divide. They crossed it on July 4, 1836. This book also brings out many of the missiological ideas of the day; such as trying to take the Western culture to the heathen of the world. It shows the prejudice that people felt toward the Indian people as well. I thought it was a very good book.