October 06, 2011
They Called Her Mrs Doc by Janette Oke
We are introduced to the main character Cassandra, who is better known as Cassie while she is younger. The first chapter actually is of her when she is much older, contemplating a move to the city that her children are insisting on. She however, wants to stay at the home she's lived in most of her life.
After that it takes us to a seventeen year old Cassie who is just starting to think about men for the first time. She is surrounded by young doctors to be thanks to her father who is a doctor and professor to prospective doctors. While initially her interests lay with an older man, she soon find a soul mate in the charming Samuel Smith. The agree to marry, but then she finds out that his biggest desire is to move back West to bring medicine to his hometown where there are no doctors. Cassie, a spoiled Eastern girl, loves him enough to go with him, but secretly wishes that he'll change his mind and move back East.
The rest of the book follows their life together and that of their children. While the first part of the book follows a very slow timeline, with the birth of their first child, the book starts jumping all over the place with occasional longer chapters having some sort of story involving the family to them. These stories include visits to the East, the children's professional choices and marriage, and different medical procedures done by Samuel and sometimes Cassandra.
As far as a struggle in the novel, the only hardship the book seems to have is Cassandra's struggle with staying in the West. But even that hardship is gone midway through the book. Otherwise, in this novel, there really is no plotline, its just the story of a woman.
Oke's characters in this are also very believable. Cassandra starts out as being very headstrong and biased. Over the novel she grows and even learns to accept others for who they are. She also even overcomes her aversion to blood and most things medical, becoming known as Mrs Doc for her skills in healing small childhood mishaps and injuries of the children's pets.
Like most of Oke's novels, the writing is very soft and unoffensive. She gives a lot of detail and paints a picture on what life was like in her different time periods. Although no time frame was given for this novel, it is easy to see it starts in the early 1900's and continues from there.
Since Oke is a Christian writer I will relate a little bit of how that is expressed in this book. For the most part she shows the Christian attitude through the growth of the character Cassandra. It shows how she deals with her struggles and thoughts. I wouldn't call the book preachy at all, there is only one section where Oke goes into detail about how to include God into your life during a discussion between Cassandra and a friend. Some might wonder if any non-Christians would enjoy Okes book. I can personally attest to the fact that they will. Myself I find that even a non-Christian is able to appreciate how the characters in Oke's novel accept that they cannot change the world around them, but can strive to be better people themselves. It offers realistic ways of making yourself a better person, regardless if you include the religion or not.
Not only that, but the stories in general are wonderful for any audience. They offer calm, peaceful relaxation in reading. My only complaint for Mrs. Doc would be the jumping around in time. I would have liked to see the book flow a bit better and include more information at each time frame in the book. Or jump a set number of years instead of one here, five there, two there.
They Called Her Mrs. Doc